Water use twice normal rate in Clarendon Hills
A resident of the 200 block of Oxford Avenue in Clarendon Hills uses a sprinkler to provide water for the front lawn.
Updated: July 22, 2012 6:28AM
As the entire area is suffering from drought conditions, demand for water in Clarendon Hills is significantly greater than normally is the case, said Public Works Director John Hays.
Average daily use in Clarendon Hills is about 750,000 gallons, he said. During the winter, that amount drops to an average of a little more than 500,000 gallons; it usually increases to about 950,000 at this time of the year.
“We’re now over 1.5 million gallons a day, which is more than double our average daily demand,” Hays said June 14. “The demand for water is greater now because with so little rain people who normally don’t water their lawns are doing it, and automatic sprinkler systems with sensors are being used more often. People also are washing their cars more, kids are in the sprinklers more, and when it’s hot, like it has been, people take more showers.”
Clarendon Hills has long-standing restrictions for the use of outdoor water, such as for sprinklers.
Residents south of the Burlington Railroad tracks may use water outdoors on odd numbered days; residents north of the tracks may use water outdoors on even numbered days.
No outdoor watering is permitted between 1 and 4 p.m. Watering restrictions apply to lawns, trees, shrubs and gardens only. Permits for watering newly installed lawns and landscaping are available for a $25 fee.
Clarendon Hills purchases Lake Michigan water from the DuPage Water Commission, which buys it from the city of Chicago.
“Right now, we’re waiting to see if there are any changes from the top down,” Hays said. “We’re concerned, but not alarmed. The first step for us would be more vigorous enforcement. In the ’90s, when it was extremely dry for a period, we had a patrol out 24 hours a day, listening for sprinklers. We’ve been through this drill before, and the idea is to get compliance to the watering restrictions.”
Probably the biggest drought-related concern of DuPage County Forest Preserve District officials is the potential for an increase in wild fires because of dry conditions.
“We do have a lot of green, which slows down fires, but some of the underlying grasses are very dry,” said Matt Blazek, manager of site operations for the forest preserve district.
Blazek said forest preserve trails are likely to be dusty because of the prolonged dry weather. He also said lakes and streams in the forest preserve are at a lower than normal water level, but he added it won’t take much to solve that situation.
“Really, one good rain will pretty much get things back to normal,” he said.