High sprinkler use is cited as the biggest cause of a spike in demand during those hours.
Benton Utilities sent out the following announcement explaining the reasons for the request:
As we have previously notified you, Benton Utilities has been experiencing very high water usage in the evening hours. This has caused the transmission water line to be at capacity over the last month, and our water tower levels are lowering to the point they can't fully recover overnight. We know, this is due to the drought conditions we are currently experiencing. Again, this does not just effect the citizens of Benton, it also includes our wholesale coverage areas provided water by our organization.
The water usage on July 4th through the transmission meters at the Benton Utilities Water Treatment Plant indicate we produced 9.3 million gallons of water which to date is the highest daily usage of water for this year. The water treatment plant has the capabilities of producing 13.3 million gallons of water per day at this current time, so as you can see, the plant is currently operating well within its production capabilities. The highest daily production on record was 10.6 million gallons which was produced in August of 2008, and you may recall, we had a very dry hot summer that year quite similar to this year.
This past Saturday, after we got some much needed rain, the daily usage dropped to 5.8 million gallons. Quite a drop in usage that we assume was due to people turning off their sprinklers. It's amazing how a little rain will affect water production. This goes to show how much water is being used to water lawns.
Our problem times with water line capacity is during the evening hours from 6 PM to 10 PM. What we are requesting our customers to do is to reduce the amount of water usage during this time frame and to not water their lawns during this extremely high usage time of the day. By doing this, the water mains can transport sufficient flows of water meeting the needs of our customers, and our water tower levels will not diminish to the point they can't fully recover overnight.
Even with this stress on the system we are experiencing this year this problem should be negated with the construction of the new twenty-four (24) inch water main from the water treatment plant to the Congo Water Tower. This new main is scheduled to be put into service in July of 2013.
At Benton Utilities, our customers are our priority. We believe the request for our customers to reduce their water usage during the evening time is imperative to the continual supply to our customers. Some of you may have noticed reduced pressure during this time in days past, however, if we can all work together in reducing usage, the flow should return to normal during this time.