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Drought Conditions Prompt Water Conservation Efforts

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In the land of more than 10,000 lakes, it’s hard to believe water would ever be lacking. But it’s been so dry that officials are starting to worry.

According to the most recent monitor, nearly 100 percent of the state is in drought. A quarter of the state is actually in extreme drought, with the southwest part of Minnesota hardest hit.

Officials are concerned and have asked the people of Mankato and North Mankato to help.

Right now, the area is under a drought warning, and officials want people to conserve water so they don’t run out of it. One look at the Minnesota River shows how dry things are.

“The drought, over the last year, has had an effect on the amount of water we can pump,” said Mary Fralish, Mankato’s deputy director of public works.

The area gets much of its water from wells in shallow aquifers underneath the river bed.

“The two main wells that we have for our production wells depend on the river water,” Fralish said.

That water is what’s used in homes in Mankato and North Mankato.

If water levels are not restored over the winter and spring, the area, as well as others across the state, could face water restrictions, Fralish says.

On average the wells pump about 9 and-a-half million gallons of water every day. Now they’re running at just 50 percent, about 4 million gallons a day.

For now, conserving water is key.

“I don’t run the water while I’m brushing my teeth the whole time,” said Freya Spore.

Spore, 13, is doing her part.

People are also encouraged to put in low shower head fixtures and go easy on watering the lawn.

The Department of Natural Resources says we can’t depend on nature to help. Only about 10 percent of snowfall goes into the ground, which is why water conservation is really the best thing to do.

The widespread summer drought has left many communities in the same situation.

The DNR sent out letters to hundreds of water suppliers across the state, asking them to tell resident to conserve water.

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