Vernon Upgrades Drought Level

On Tuesday, Vernon city leaders entered level two of their drought contingency plan. It is still a voluntary effort on residents, except level two advises everyone to only water in the morning hours.

The City is taking extreme measures in this extreme drought. City departments are cutting back on water usage  only watering from 6am to 11am.

Even with conservation efforts, Vernon City Manager Mitch Grant says, Vernon could possibly enter into a mandatory level three of the drought contingency plan as soon as Monday of next week.

The City of Vernon watches daily as its water sources dwindle

Mitch Grant says , "Like everybody else, the drought is definitely taking a toll on us. We are just watching our water supply and watching our usage, production, and everything very closely right now on a daily basis."

But officials are not just watching they are taking an aggressive approach to cut back water usage.

Right now residents are under voluntary water restrictions, but City operated departments are adhering to mandatory restrictions.

Mitch Grant says the City is reaching out to larger entities like the hospital, college, and the county to ask them to cut back on water usage.

Grant says its crucial for the City to step up and set a good example for citizens.

Grant comments, "I hope we are going to set a good example. We need to do our best and we don't want citizens to do things we don't do ourselves."

Grant says Vernon gets it water from 25 wells that feed into an underground aquifer. Right now well levels are 20 percent down from normal pumping capacity.

That is a big concern because without rain the underground water source cannot be recharged.

Now with the extreme drought the city is trying to figure out what to do in a worst case scenario.

Officials say if water well levels continue to drop the city may have to consider drilling more water wells in order to get more water.

The city of Vernon does not rely on anyone else for a water source.

Vernon City Manager Mitch Grant says this is the first time in 20 years that the City has had to enact its drought contingency plan.

If the City enters into stage three restrictions next week, residents will not be allowed to have any type of outdoor water use between 10 am and 6 PM. That includes watering, washing cars, or filling pools.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6