Drought level in Bloomington forces city to react

By Joe Bennett

July 23, 2012 Updated Jul 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill -- Those who get their water supply from the city of Bloomington could be fined for not conserving water during extreme drought conditions.

Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake are 5.8 feet below their regular levels combined.

The city council voted unanimously Monday night to encourage water conservation if the lakes reach 8 feet below regular levels.

A severe drought at 10 feet below makes conservation mandatory.

An extreme drought at 12 feet below could bring a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second and $500 for a third offense.

"We know we're in a drought, but is it going to break in a week or is it going to break in 12 months?" asks Bloomington Water Director Craig Cummings. "We just don't know, so what we need to do is conserve that water supply here at the front end so we've got it 12 months from now."

Some conservation restrictions under an severe drought include limiting landscape-watering to two days a week and banning the use of fountains, sprinklers and water-based recreation activities

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