WATER: Conservation beginning to have positive effect

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 1:24pm
Staff reports

UPDATE Thursday, Noon: Nashville’s water conservation effort is finally making some progress, according to Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter.  

Two days ago, Metro’s water reserve stood at 48 percent capacity. Today, it’s operating at 52 percent capacity.

“That’s an improvement,” Potter said. “I want to say thank you to all the citizens of Nashville for your water conservation efforts.”

With Metro’s K.R. Harrington water treatment plant still not operating, Potter is still calling on Nashvillians to limit their water use by half.

Potter said he’s encouraged by the progress on repairing the K.R. Harrington plant, but said he has no timeframe on when it could be fixed. In the meantime, Metro will continue to rely solely on the Omohundro water treatment plant.

“We have a lot more work to do and a lot more inspections to get the systems working properly,” Potter said. 

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: As of Wednesday evening, it appeared water conservation efforts in Nashville were beginning to have a positive effect.

Scott Potter, director of Metro Water, said the city is still operating at 48 percent capacity, 11 percent above the supply at the same time Tuesday. Clean water reserves remain critically low, with only one operating treatment plant.

Potter’s office checks water supplies every four hours. He said the change this afternoon was “demonstrable,” attributing it to continued efforts to implore Nashvillians to reduce their water usage by half.

He also reiterated that it is essential for Nashvillians to continue cutting their water usage.

Metro’s water reserve is now operating at 48 percent capacity, the result of moderate conservation, typically lower water usage overnight and more production from the city's sole operating treatment plant.

The capacity had previously dipped from 64 percent to a low of 37 percent.

According to Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter, under normal conditions Nashville’s two water treatment plants typically produce 81.64 million gallons of water per day.

But with the K.R. Harrington plant not operating after the weekend’s flooding, Nashville’s only functioning plant, Omohundro, yesterday produced 79.33 million gallons of water. Essentially, Omohundro is working double-time.

Where conservation has been modest, Metro says it needs to be massive.  

“The conservation efforts really aren’t taking hold,” Potter said. “I need that message relayed strongly to everyone in Nashville.”

Despite the strain on Omohundro, Potter said he’s confident the plant is not in jeopardy of breaking down.

As for the K.R. Harrington plant, Potter said the news is good, as inspectors finally accessed the previously submerged plant and are currently reviewing the damage.

“We are in the process now of disassembling the motors for inspection and maintenance,” Potter said. “The damage is not as bad as I feared, but it’s still significant.”

Potter said he has no timeline on when the plant could be operating again.

Boil advisories

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the following systems have boil water advisories in effect, according to the Tennessee Department of Conservation.

• Ashland City Water Department (Cheatham County)
• Bon Aqua-Lyles Utility District (Hickman County)
• Celina Water System (Clay County)
• Centerville Water Sytem (Hickman County)
• Lobelville Water Department (Perry County)
• Michie Water Department (McNairy County)
• Mount Pleasant Water System #1 (Maury County)
• Ridgewood Park (Giles County)
• Trenton Water System (Gibson County)
• Waynesboro Water System (Wayne County)

As of 10 a.m., the following systems no longer have boil water advisories in effect:

• Brentwood (Williamson County)
• Castilian Springs-Bethpage Utility District (Sumner County)
• Jackson Water System (Madison County)
• Lexington Water Systems (Henderson County)
• Poplar Grove Utility District (Tipton County)
• Westmoreland Water System (Sumner County)

6 Comments on this post:

By: roxiebelle on 5/6/10 at 1:25

people are washing off flood debris from their items.. and still doing laundry.

By: bfra on 5/6/10 at 4:28

I saw a group of Hispanic kids playing under a water toy sprinkler, yesterday and from spread of the sprinkler, it was going full blast. But, laws don't seem to apply to them!

By: geekinstein on 5/6/10 at 7:15

Its easy to blame the car washes that employ minimum wage and sub minimum wage folks for our conservation issues but they need the income to provide basic services to their families.

If there are 700,000 folks in Nashville, the water plants are generating over 100 gallons a person. The average consumption for the US is just 90 gallons. Clearly we can cut back.

Folks that are using under 20 gallons will not be able to cut much but no one should be using over 50 gallons per day. Check your water bill - how much water do you use?

By: Blanketnazi2 on 5/6/10 at 7:32

the biggest impact is whether or not businesses are conserving. i know many who are.

By: brrrrk on 5/6/10 at 9:45

Blanketnazi2 said

"the biggest impact is whether or not businesses are conserving. i know many who are."

Good point. The fact is, it's businesses that are the biggest and constant users of water. If the city really wants to build up water reserves, they should have all non-essential businesses shut down for a day or two. Doing this will not only build up our water reserves, but it will also give people time to deal with some of the problems on their plates.

And here's a novel idea, those businesses that close down for those days could continue to pay the salaries of their workers with the stipulation that the workers use that time to help others if they can. The businesses could then deduct those salaries as charitable deductions and those in need get a work detail.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 5/6/10 at 10:06

brrrrk - that would never work because it sounds too much like right!