State Officials Expand Water Shortage Warning
DNR and DHS officials explain the water shortage warning. (WIBC.com photo: Mike Corbin)
Both the Indiana Departments of Natural Resources and Homeland Security have issued a Water Shortage Warning.
Homeland Security Executive Director Joe Wainscott says it now applies to ALL 92 state counties. Wainscott says it's a voluntary move aimed at getting residents and merchants to cut water usage by upwards of fifteen percent. National Weather Service Meteorologist Al Shipe says the state is enduring the worst heatwave in 76 years. Shipe says the average temperature from June 28th to July 7th was 101 degrees. Shipe says the heatwave and drought is likely to continue through next week and into August.
Officials say water restrictions will remain in place for localities, however each locality has different plans due to varying conditions statewide.
Wainscott says that will likely remain the case until the situation possibly worsens to a "Water Shortage Emergency." Wainscott says that would be up to Governor Daniels. The move would require tougher and likely mandatory water conservation efforts.
Also, Indiana Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says fire fighters across the state have been battling hundreds of field fires since the drought began. He says there's a 90% chance that an active cigarette butt can ignite any field fire and he urges safety and fire prevention.
Department of Agriculture Commissioner Joe Kelsay says 50 counties are now disaster areas in light of the drought. He says 75 % of all Indiana farm acres are insured, but adds the situation is critical for most farmers right now.