Communities battling dry conditions
A chart in the pump house at the Harwood Heights Public Works building measures the ebbs and flows of the water in the Harwood Heights water tank. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
How often do you water your yard?
Updated: July 22, 2012 7:39PM
With temperatures predicted to be around 90 degrees recently, the effect of Saturday’s miniscule rainfall to help alleviate drought conditions is slight.
In the meantime, Norridge and Harwood Heights officials are keeping watch on water consumption.
But officials from both municipalities say if residents use the resource conservatively, they should see no detrimental effects during this drought.
“Residents are using less water now than they ever have before,” said Norridge Trustee Dennis Stefanowicz. “The only thing the village requires is that residents do not water their lawns between noon and 6 p.m.”
Water consumption in Norridge has been down, according to Stefanowicz, “and we expect it to be that way.”
Stefanowicz said the village’s water distribution system is in “excellent” shape, thereby cutting down on loss due to leaks.
“We have a good, well-maintained system, including new pumps being installed with the last two years,” he said.
The village also replaces water mains on a yearly basis.
“We look at where the water main breaks are, and the consistency (of mains with water loss) and make improvements,” he said.
Harwood Heights Trustee Mark Dobrzycki said so far, the village has not been hurt by a lack of rainfall.
He did suggest that residents may want to water their lawns and gardens “within reason.”
“The grass will come back,” he said.
Harwood Heights Superintendent of Public Works Tom Wolfe said the village has been experiencing a “slight’ increase in water consumption.
But it’s nothing that would affect the village’s ability to provide water, he noted.
Wolfe said a couple of years back, the village received grant money to replace its water pumps.
That, combined with the current water meter replacement program, is helping the village better monitor its water use, Wolfe explained.
In addition to a lack of rainfall, the Chicago area also has been experiencing warmer-than-usual temperatures, which exacerbate drought conditions.
Chicago usually received a little more than four inches of rain in June, according to the National Weather Service.
So far, the area has received about an inch of rain.
Chicago’s climatological spring, which runs from March 1-May 31, was the warmest on statewide records, which go back to 1895, according to the state climatologist office for Illinois.