No rationing by Rockett: ´It does no good´
By 07/27/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Press Managing Editor
RED OAK -- Water rationing sounds good on paper. But, despite repeated efforts, it hasn't paid off for Ellis County in recent years.
Some communities likely will ration water this hot and dry summer, but don't expect Rockett Special Utility District to ask its Ellis County customers to go on a conservation program.
'Rationing does no good,' Rockett SUD Manager Terry Hafer told the Ellis County Press, 'not in the five and a half years I've been here. We're tired, and it just hasn't worked.'
Rockett first had customers with even- and odd- number addresses use water outside on corresponding days. 'We didn't save a bit,' Hafer said.
Rockett later tried limiting customers to two days a week. 'It still did no good,' Hafer said.
'Only from 12 midnight to 8 a.m. did we see relief,' he said. 'That's when horticulture magazines say is the best time to water, during the early morning hours.'
What rationing plans can't accomplish, however, high water bills and good taste can.
'I've got customers with $800 water bills from watering their lawns,' Hafer said. 'Nobody's had a bill that high yet this summer, but just wait until the next (billing) cycle. A few dingers will be going out.
'People will see their bill and voluntarily cut back,' he said. 'After the first round of high bills, we see water usage go down.'
Hafer also expects good taste to indirectly reduce water consumption.
While Rockett SUD isn't likely to run out of water during this drought, increased demand means more well water will be used to meet the increased demand.
'I have eight wells,' Hafer said. 'I hate to use them. People don't like well water's taste because of the high mineral content. But it's wet, and it's good.'
Rockett SUD presently is using a mix of 60 percent surface water and 40 percent well water. Although normally 50-50 when Hafer became manager, Rockett has improved to almost all surface water, except in emergency situations.
'I don't see foresee us doing anything in the way of rationing,' Hafer said. 'If people voluntarily conserve, we wouldn't have to use well water. Last summer we didn't have to use hardly any well water.'
While water quantity isn't a problem, Rockett SUD is struggling to maintain proper water pressure. Two suppliers suffered emergencies last week and shut off water to Rockett, causing water pressure to dip. As a result, Hafer said he is considering additional suppliers, including Dallas.