An Iowa Department of Natural Resources hydrologist predicts the ongoing drought will lead to some mandatory water rationing in Iowa communities this summer. The latest report from the federal government shows 54-percent of the state is in severe, extreme or exceptional drought, compared to 24 percent one year ago. The D.N.R.’s Tim Hall told an Iowa Senate committee it will be up to individual communities whether to ration.
“There may be places where those measures are appropriate, and we will help communities to decide when to put those in place. But it wouldn’t be wise to do that on a statewide regional basis,” Hall says. Halls says the drought is the worst in far northwest Iowa. Hall says timing is an issue when it comes to the water rationing measures.
“It’s one thing that we’re going to tell our citizens that you can’t wash your car, or whatever it is, a laundry list of practices,” Hall says. “It’s more difficult to sit down ahead of time and say ‘alright when will we know that it’s time to implement the plan’.”
Statewide, rainfall in 2012 was nine inches shy of the normal 30 inches. All Iowa communities by law are required to have a plan for restricting water use.
Hall says the state devised a drought allocation priority list in 1985 to determine where to start with the restrictions. But he says officials have never had to resort to the list.