Water watch continues

Hot, dry conditions compell conservation

July 17, 2012

Sussex - Nursery Manager Dave Grillaert said he can't make it through the grocery store without being stopped several times by residents looking for advice on how to keep their dying plants alive in the severe drought. Grillaert, of David J. Frank Landscaping in Germantown, said the best piece of advice he can give is to water and water often.

"And I don't mean just holding the hose in your hand for a bit after you come home from work. If you have a tree that is showing stress, set the hose on a trickle for four to five hours," for a tree that is a year old or younger, and two to three hours for an older tree, he said.

Grillaert said the drought has substantially affected operations at the nursery mostly by increasing the need to water the 100-odd acres of plants and trees.

He said in the last two weeks they have equipped two more trucks to carry water to the plants. He said that, while the drought hasn't adversely affected business too much, if it keeps up they may have to cut staff.

Conserving water voluntarily

Last week the Sussex Village Board voted to issue voluntary water restrictions. Residents are asked to water every other day to help conserve village water. Administrator Jeremy Smith said over the course of the Fourth of July holiday and extreme heat that followed, peak usage in the village exceeded 2.5 million gallons a day.

Assistant Administrator Melissa Weiss said there is no restriction against watering flowers or new lawns, as those often require more frequent water, however, "If you do feel like you need to water, the village asks that it be done for a short duration and during the later evening or early morning hours, avoiding the weekends if possible, as those are the highest water usage days," she wrote in a letter to residents last week.

Weiss said the village is not in danger of water shortage and the restrictions will help avoid one.

"We would appreciate Sussex residents volunteering to adhere to the lawn watering program to help reduce peak water use during this drought period. Your contribution is a significant benefit to the community," Weiss said.

Private wells a concern

In terms of the drought's effect on local well levels, it hasn't caused extensive damage. Although well levels are down, consultant Tom Neary of Freedom Pump and Well Services in Waukesha said it usually takes years for a drought to severely affect aquifer levels.

However, he added that these conditions could cause some personal wells to dry up, which would require drillers to dig them deeper. Those with personal wells should try to conserve water to avoid complications.

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