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Worthington Continues Water Ban

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Now that spring is here, and hopefully to stay, many are anxious to start watering their lawns and washing their cars.

However, that’s not the case for residents in Worthington, Minnesota. A water shortage in the city has forced citizens to adjust their water usage routines.

"At this point in time, lawn irrigation, plant irrigation, non-essential water use, the hosing down of siding, sidewalks, and driveways is prohibited,” says Scott Hain, Public Utilities Manager for Worthington.

This ban was implemented back in October all because of the extreme lack of rainfall we've experienced over the past year.

"Just a few months ago, Lake Bella here, the city's primary water source, was almost completely dried up. Although there have been some improvements over the past few months, the city says the water level must increase just a little bit before they can actually lift that ban,” says Hain.

"Where we stand as of today is still about 3.5 feet lower than we were at this point in time last year,” says Hain.

This is a deficit that leaves the fate of this ban at the hands of Mother Nature in the upcoming months.

"If we get to that ten year average level, that would be a reasonable time to lift the ban. Right now, wer'e probably ten feet below that,” says Hain.

Jerry Vajgrt and his wife are avid gardeners and have lived on the shores of Lake Okabena for the past 42 years, but with this water ban; they're forced to pump their water from the lake just to water their plants. All city water is off limits.

"Hopefully we'll get rains to keep our lawns and our gardens going and we do have good subsoil moisture, so I think the lawns will grow quite well this spring and green up,” says Hain.

Things are looking up, though. At the rate we're going so far this year, Hain is optimistic that well levels can rise rather quickly.

Until that happens, though; those who violate the ordinance may face steep penalties.

"First offense is a 90 dollar fine. The second offense is a 150 dollar fine. Repeated offenses by the same folks, through our policies could result in disconnection of their water sources altogether,” says Hain.

The city has connected with the neighboring Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water Association and hopes to build a second connection in order to relieve some of the stress. They were also looking into a connection with the Lewis and Clark Water Association, but due to a lack of funding; that may not be possible for at least another couple of years.  
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