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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. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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