The Alcoa, Maryville and Tuckaleechee Utility District is asking customers to reduce their water use because of drought conditions leading to lower than normal water levels in the Little River.

The utility district says lower than normal rainfall combined with continued high temperatures have caused "significantly less than normal water flow in the Little River this fall."

"When it reaches a certain level and with the weather forecast, then that can trigger a situation such this when we call for voluntary conservation," said Tricia Tipton, public information officer for the City of Alcoa.

In a press release Tuesday, the utility district said, "Long-term rainfall outlook is not favorable to provide immediate and long-term relief for restoring river levels,"

The water conservation effort is voluntary. Some ways the utility district suggests people conserve water include:

  • watering your lawn no more than twice a week, and only from 8 p.m. to midnight
  • operating irrigation systems manually
  • watering only when grass and plants begin to show signs of distress
  • evaluating irrigation systems for water use efficiency
  • collecting rainwater at downspouts to water plants
  • not hosing off driveways and sidewalks
  • minimizing water use for washing cars

The utility district said it is working to operate interconnections with other utilities and operate an auxiliary raw water line to provide additional water to the City of Alcoa Water Treatment Plant.