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Cooperation Saves Town From Water Shortage

June 19, 2012, 5:57 PM by Brady Mallory

Cooperation Saves Town From Water Shortage
VIBORG, SD -

The intense hot weather could be to blame for some people worrying about drying out.

"I'm hoping there won't be a fire. That's the main thing," Viborg Finance Officer Lori Ronke said. 

Despite her money-related job title, Ronke took calls about water all day. 

Ronke said city workers noticed a water problem on Monday night while reading the meters that measure the water tower levels.  In just three hours, the water level went from 14 feet to two feet.  According to Ronke, 123,000 gallons of water was used in the last 24 hours, double the amount normally used.  On Tuesday, people were asked to conserve water and not run dishwashers, washing machines or water lawns.  A small plea to conserve water had a big ripple effect throughout town.

"Well, I've got some jugs at home I've got water in.  All I've got to do is heat it up a bit," Patricia Flynn said.

It has been a while since Flynn has lived on a farm, but she still knows how to make a little go a long way.

"In your sink, you're going to wash your hands, put some water in your sink and you can wash any time.  Don't let it run down the drain," Flynn said.

Not everyone was as conservative as Flynn; the car wash still had customers hosing down their vehicles.  Enough people must have cooperated and turned off their faucets because by Tuesday afternoon, the water level was back up to 13 feet.  After trying to solve the shortage mystery, city employees think people were simply using too much water to combat the scorching heat.  It may not be the best situation, but it is better than searching for a water leak.

"The problem being it's been so dry, a water leak would take a little while (to find) because it's soaking into the ground," Ronke said.

As the water tower filled up, city officials still asked people to keep their water usage down throughout the evening.  Flynn will conserve as long as she can because she does not want to be a drain on her city, but even tough farm girls have their limits.

"No, not too long.  You've got to flush the stool once in a while!" Flynn said while laughing.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A grammatical error was corrected in this story.

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