Ongoing Drought Drying Up Wallets


(WVLT) - The ongoing drought may dry up more than your lawn. It could also leave your wallet barren as well. KUB says you're using more water than any other time so far this year. So far, it's just your typical sweltering summer, and the extra water use hasn't dampened most folks family budgets.

Matthew Madsen loves the water.

"I was splashing and swimming," Madsen says.

And his uncle just bought a new pool...fresh out of the box...for him to do just that.

"We had a small one and it wasn't big enough for all of us to have fun. So we decided to buy one big one," Robert Melis says.

A big one that holds more than 3,000 gallons of water. Filled up...just on Wednesday. The pool cost around 300 bucks...but the water...

"The water? We don't know. We didn't get our bill yet," Melis says.

But they know it won't be cheap.

"We're going to have to tighten the belt alittle until we get the initial paid for," Melis continues.

It's a priority in the 90-plus-degree heat and an 11 inch rain drought. Despite that one-two punch from mother...

"The may 2006 average residential water bill was $15.13 and it's the same for May 2007," Jennifer Fern says.

KUB pumps out more than 39-million gallons of water a day to East Tennessee during the summer.

Most homes use around 45-hundred gallons a month.

"What we're actually seeing right now is customer usage is relatively flat comparing this year to last year," Fern says.

But Pam Arms' used her hose more this year than ever.

"I'm just more concerned with keeping my flowers alive right now," Arms' says.

At the cost at of about 40 gallons a week. Because of the drought...

"I probably water at least once more...one more time a week than I normally do," Arms' continues.

Back at the pool...

Even though Melis doesn't know how much it costs to fill up the pool, he says every drop will be worth it.

"My brother-in-law just came back from Cancun, Mexico. Cost him $5,000. He can't get that money back. And I got the same thing, just a little less," Melis says.

And Madsen got a new place to practice his back stroke.

You will soon see a 10-percent rate increase on your water bill. But KUB says that's for infrastructure improvements, not the drought. That will take effect in October.


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