Gilmer water supplies holding up; officials urge residents to conserve
by MAC OVERTON
Aug 25, 2013 | 1464 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton<br>
A TEXAS FOREST SERVICE truck finishes putting out a grass fire on embankments at Grouse Road and Hwy. 300 about noon Tuesday. Gilmer and several other departments joined in combatting several fires which erupted. The Forest Service and many fire departments, including Gilmer, were kept busy much of the time fighting grass fires and keeping them from becoming major conflagrations. Upshur County, as well as surrounding counties, are under burn bans.
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton
A TEXAS FOREST SERVICE truck finishes putting out a grass fire on embankments at Grouse Road and Hwy. 300 about noon Tuesday. Gilmer and several other departments joined in combatting several fires which erupted. The Forest Service and many fire departments, including Gilmer, were kept busy much of the time fighting grass fires and keeping them from becoming major conflagrations. Upshur County, as well as surrounding counties, are under burn bans.
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The drought affecting most of Texas shows no signs of abating, but the city of Gilmer is holding its own waterwise.

Brian Rodgers, city public works director, said Wednesday that the city is pumping a million gallons a day, but the city’s storage tanks and estimated water in the ground are still at safe levels.

This despite Well No. 7, which is near the Patterson Addition, being down for repairs that day.

“There is no significant drop in water levels,” Rodgers said.

City Manager Jeff Ellington said they were going ahead with the well repair, rather than calling a special meeting of the City Council to authorize the repair.

The city has six wells, with all the town’s water supply coming from ground water.

“In a dry spell, you need to go ahead and fix it,” Ellington said. He said that the matter would be brought up for approval at the next regular council meeting.

Rodgers said that the city has been at Stage 1 of its Drought Contingency Plan for the past year.

Stage 1 is voluntary conservation, and Ellington said that seems to be working.

There are few signs of water being wasted. Should conditions warrant, the city could proceed to other stages of the Drought Contingency Plan, which would set increasing levels of restrictions on water usage, but at the moment it doesn’t look like the city will need to.

About two-thirds of Upshur County, except for the southwestern third, is listed as being in Extreme Drought conditions, the next-to-worst rating. The remainder is in Severe Drought, the next level down.

(The highest drought ranking is “Exceptional Drought.” None of the county or East Texas is in that category.)

The Climate Forecast generated by the National Weather Service through Nov. 30 puts most of East Texas, including Upshur County, in an area rated “Drought Remains But Improves.”

A burn ban remains in force for Upshur County and the cities within the county.

Grass fires and other blazes kept fire fighters busy during the past few weeks. Earlier this week, grass fires near Gopher Road and Hwy. 300 threatened some homes, but were contained by the Texas Forest Service and area fire departments.

On Monday, a horse barn burned off Hwy. 155 between Pritchett and Big Sandy.

Continued caution is urged, and remember, NO OUTDOOR BURNING.
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