For the first time in Graham history, the city will most likely be plunged into phase 2 water restrictions within the next three weeks. Public Works Director David Casteel said that Graham is currently in phase 1 restrictions, which calls for voluntary water conservation efforts from Grahamites. Phase 2 is slightly more strict in terms of conservation.

“Phase 2 is mandatory water restrictions, and twice a week watering,” Casteel said. “We will have a person going around to help enforce that as well.”

Casteel said that short of one or more voluminous rainfalls in the next three weeks, phase 2 restrictions are inevitable.

“Even when we do get rain, it doesn't get a lot of water in the lake right now because all of the ponds and stock tanks upstream are still dry,” Casteel explained. “So the rain has to fill those before we see runoff to the lake. The last few rains, they helped a little, but not as much as they would if we had been in saturated conditions. But unless we get a good rain in the next few weeks, there's 100 percent chance we'll go into phase 2.”

He added that there are some elements coming into play that help ease the water situation in Graham, including the fact that the city is entering into a dormant period regarding lawn maintenance. He said that because of this dormant season, people will naturally use less water for their lawns, effectively reducing the impact that a phase 2 implementation would ultimately have on Graham's citizens. Casteel said that in stage 2, people should exercise a 10 percent reduction in water usage across the board.

Read the entire story in this weekend's edition of the Graham Leader