ONEIDA, TENNESSEE - The City of Oneida has entered Stage 2 of their Drought Plan as the dry conditions continue and the drought takes a toll on their main water supply at Baker Lake.
Conservation measures for water district customers are now mandatory under the new stage, according to water plant manager Michael Keeton, who was testing the water supply at the plant on Sunday.
"It is a bit of concern. I'm not in panic mode yet and I hope I don't get there but it is a little bit of concern," Keeton shared during a trip out to Baker Lake.
He showed comparisons of the lake level, telling 10News the lake has been dropping eight inches a week.
"As it gets lower, it's going to drop faster," he said.
According to Keeton, if the dry conditions continue, it may only be 8 to 9 weeks until the bottom intake in the lake won't be able to transfer any more water from the lake to the plant. Therefore, they would have to bring a pump to the lake to get more water supply.
“Realistically we got about 8 to 9 weeks before we get into a dire situation," Keeton said.
The city is already trucking in water from Huntsville daily to help with their water supply. If Baker Lake gets too low, they'll have to purchase more water from other nearby districts.
"When it gets beyond that, we are looking at an emergency type situation where we are trucking water in but hopefully we don’t get there. Hopefully that plan is not cracked open," Keeton shared.
Car washes in town have already been shut down while customers are being asked to cut back and if they don't, they may face a surcharge on their December water bill, a temporary adjustment during the drought plan.
"Once we get back to normal operations that will go away," Keeton added.
He said the measures aren't a punishment as they are a way to encourage people to save water.
Keeton provided a list of the top 10 water consumers in the City of Oneida.
1. HBD Factory – 390,000 usage = $5,503.85
2. T&T Car Wash – 194,000 usage = $1,765.40
3. T&T Car Wash – 273,400 usage = $1,476
4. Oneida Nursing Home – 174,700 usage = $2,534.27
5. Oneida Elementary – 90,600 usage = $1,248.95
6. Armstrong – 83,600 usage = $1,182.40
7. T&T Car Wash – 55,300 usage = $503.23
8. McDonald’s – 52,800 usage = $768.42
9. Burchfield – 60,900 usage = $857.69
10. The Clothes Pin – 49,000 usage = $699.14
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