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Russell City Council Declares a Water Emergency Stage IV

Quinday City CouncilAt its Tuesday meeting, the Russell City Council voted six to one to move the city to Stage IV Water Conservation and declare a Water Emergency effective November 1.

The decision came as extremely dry conditions persist in the area, specifically south of Russell near the well fields where the city gets its water. 

Under Stage IV, outdoor watering of private and public grounds is prohibited except the watering of plants maintained by a commercial grower, waste of water is prohibited, washing of vehicles and buildings is prohibited, and industrial users of water are required to reduce their consumption to 75 percent monthly average.

The main change from Stage III to Stage IV is no residential outdoor watering.

Public Works Director Arlyn Unrein explains why he recommended the move.

"I think everybody's conserving water and doing a great job, but we've got a long winter in front of us and I just think we need to go through the steps and get a little more serious about it and get people's attention more than anything," Unrein said.

City Attorney Ken Cole explains a couple changes and clarifications the council made to the resolution Tuesday night as well.

"The changes will be to paragraph two, with regard to commerical growers, is that its on his or her commercial premises, and number five - it's going to be the industrial users and also add that the regulations themselves will not go into effect until November 1," said Cole.

Previously, paragraph number five had included both industrial and commercial users, but will now only include industrial.

Curt Mader, a Russell citizen, disagrees with the no outdoor watering part of the resolution and voiced his concerns at the meeting Tuesday.

"If you want to have a bunch of dead trees and a bunch of dead shrubs come next spring, then this is the recipe you've put out there," Mader said. "One day a week (of watering) would have made a tremendous difference on what lived and what died, because this time of year, if you put water down at the base of a tree, it builds moisture and it does not evaporate as quick. You're not talking about pouring a bunch of water everyday."

Councilman Dave Harry voted against the resolution and Councilwoman Norma Jean Cook was not present for the vote.

Other items discussed at Tuesday's Russell City Council meeting included an update on the city manager search with a timeline set to take applications from now until the beginning of December, discussion with Electric Utilities Director Duane Banks on what steps need to be taken to update and improve the city's power grid, and a 20-minute executive session for preliminary discussion of land acquisition where no action was taken. 

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