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Fire, water worries grow worse amid Indiana drought

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Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is banning lawn watering in the city beginning Friday.

Ballard on Wednesday issued an executive order declaring a water shortage warning with mandatory water-use restrictions in Marion County, where little rain has fallen over the past month. The ban does not apply to the communities of Lawrence and Speedway, which have their own water systems.

Open burning bans are in place in all but a handful of Indiana's 92 counties. In Johnson County south of Indianapolis, the county commissioners have banned smoking during the county fair that starts Saturday and runs through July 21.

Sheriff's Chief Deputy Randy Werden told the Daily Journal that smoking at the fair "could be a dangerous situation" with the dry grass.

A state listing on Wednesday showed Johnson County as the only one with limits on smoking.

The county was among many in the state that banned fireworks around the Fourth of July. Authorities said those bans have largely been followed.

"Use of fireworks is down considerably," Werden said. "They are paying attention."

Meanwhile, water levels continue falling at reservoirs around Indianapolis. The situation has the water company for the city and some of its suburbs considering a ban on watering lawns.

Citizens Water officials estimate that lawn watering accounted for about 40 percent of the utility's total usage when it pumped 231 million gallons in a day before asking customers to conserve water nearly two weeks ago. That dropped to about 200 million gallons over the weekend, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The water level at Morse Reservoir north of Indianapolis is about 4.5 feet below normal and dropping a foot every five days. At that rate, the lake has about 20 days until it hits emergency level.

Citizens Water used 84 million gallons from Morse and 42 million from nearby Geist Reservoir on Tuesday alone to fill its need. The ongoing drought has raised some concerns that the reservoirs might not fill back up by next summer even if normal rainfall returns.

"We've never had a time when the reservoirs haven't recharged," Citizens Water spokeswoman Sarah Holsapple told the Star. "We're not there yet."

The falling water level has stranded many boats around Morse and left some sections of the reservoir dry.

The recent heat wave that saw temperatures topping 100 degrees into last weekend led the lake's water temperature to reach 92 degrees, said Scott Durfey, the manager at Morse Lake Marina.

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  • Concerned Citizen
    KNOWING THAT "The water level at Morse Reservoir north of Indianapolis is about 4.5 feet below normal and dropping a foot every five days. At that rate, the lake has about 20 days until it hits emergency level." WHY HAS "Citizens Water used 84 million gallons from Morse" JUST LAST TUESDAY? THIS IS VERY AMAZING TO ME. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT - REALLY?

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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