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Germantown issues watering ban in wake of “severe drought” declaration

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GERMANTOWN -- The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows southern Wisconsin classified as being in a severe drought. The same day the "severe drought" classification was announced, another southeastern Wisconsin community issued a watering ban. Pewaukee, Brookfield, Oconomowoc, New Berlin and Germantown are among municipalities restricting water usage.

Beverly Schuelke's Germantown lawn is looking pretty brown these days, as are many others throughout the village. Schuelke said she's okay with losing her lawn, but is still trying to save her shrubs, trees and flowers with 25 or 50-foot soaker hoses.

Schuelke said she's watched the water levels fall in the pond she can see from her back window.

"I can totally understand the ban," Schuelke said.

Dan Ludwig is Germantown's Director of Public Works. He says village residents are being asked to voluntarily avoid watering their lawns. Exterior shrubs, trees and flowers can be watered, preferably by hand.

"We still think that through the watering of lawns, we can conserve enough water. We could see that consumption was increasing from last week to this week. At the rate we were consuming water, our system couldn't handle it," Ludwig said.

Ludwig explains that since the ban took effect on Monday, the village's system of supplying water has experienced a marked improvement, but asks that folks continue to conserve.

"I would normally run the water when I'm brushing my teeth, so I have warm water when I'm washing my face, and I'm like 'don't run the water, because you can wash your face with cold water,'" Schuelke said.

The severe drought declaration includes the counties of Milwaukee Waukesha, Jefferson, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha. The southern parts of Ozaukee, Washington and Dodge Counties are also classified in the severe category. The northern parts of those counties are classified as moderate drought.

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