Officials in Ames issued a warning that residents are using too much water and that’s hurting efforts to get the water system fully restored. The water in the system is not drinkable due to water main breaks during the flooding — but the water can still be used for things like showering and flushing toilets.

Water Department director John Dunn says people are using up the water pressure needed to flush out the system and get it back up and running. “We are doing everything we can to minimize the disruption to everyday lifestyles, but we our customers to understand that it is still not normal. This is still not a normal day, and we need them to conserve water and limit their use to the greatest extent possible,” Dunn said.

Ames Mayor Anne Campbell says they are in a “water emergency” and if residents don’t conserve water now, it will take longer to get the system back. “Bottom line is when we hear about water, still every ounce you use just delays the ultimate solution of having total drinking water. So conservation is the theme that has got to be throughout,” Campbell says.

Dunn says one tower began to refill overnight, but was depleted by mid-morning as people turned on the taps. Officials said this morning they had enough pressure to start flushing out the system, but residents still need to conserve. The city has set up several distribution sites for free bottled water.