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Drought and water levels affecting residents of Brookfield

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BROOKFIELD -- The sound of sprinklers and the sight of water glistening off a green lawn is something residents of Brookfield won't be seeing until more rain arrives, after a watering ban was initiated in response to drought conditions. Other communities have also ordered outdoor watering restrictions, as lake and river levels continue to go down.

Kevin Breslow of Brookfield says the drought has him concerned about his lawn.

"It's a big investment to have to reseed it," Breslow said.

Breslow and other Brookfield residents are facing a watering ban imposed by the city.

Tom Grisa, the Director of Public Works for Brookfield, advises residents that the ban does not completely ban water usage.

"We're really asking residents to stop sprinkling their lawn. We're not asking you to not water your trees, your shrubs, or your bushes," Grisa said.

Grisa hopes the ban is shortlived, but says that people can face a penalty if they don't comply. Second-time violators could be cited and forced to pay a fine of nearly $500!

Milwaukee Riverkeeper Cheryl Nenn says the fewer people watering their lawns during this time can help area rivers.

"That all goes into the storm drain systems and basically into the river and that's another source of nutrient that's exasperating the algae growth," Nenn said.

Along with the algae, warmer water is creating problems in the river systems.

"There have been some reports of fish kills, largely in the Rock River and the Fox River," Nenn said.

Fish kills are also happening in lakes, according to Heidi Bunk, a Lakes Biologist from the Department of Natural Resources.

"Northern Pike is the one I'm hearing most about," Bunk said.

There is one small bit of good news that has come with the drought.

"Fewer mosquitoes has been a positive, hasn't it? It's nice to sit outside," Bunk said.

Brookfield is one of seven communities with a ban or restrictions on water.

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