For just over 24 hours the City of Graham temporarily experienced stage five water restrictions; car washes were asked to curtail operations, the city pool’s splash pad was closed and all discretionary use of water was prohibited.

However, La Costa Environmental’s projections of the future of Lake Graham show that if the drought continues at this pace, stage five restrictions could be a way of life for Graham by January 2016.

“People responded very well, and we were able to keep our clear well, which is our primary well at the (water treatment) plant, at above 9 foot of elevation. And we were able to keep above eight and nine foot in our storage tanks on top of the hills in town,” City Manager David Casteel said. “If people had continued using like they normally use, we would have run out of water by mid-day. But we had a great response and we really appreciate that.”

How much the water emergency will cost the city has yet to be figured, said Casteel, who explained that worrying about cost took a backseat to getting the pump back on line.

“At that point it was all about getting it fixed,” he said. “They’ll tally up all the parts they used and their labor and get that to us over the next several days. I don’t know at this time.”

Tom Pierce owns two car washes in Graham, the Cliff Drive Car Wash and the Steer Car Wash, and although it affected his business, he was happy to close the doors on Tuesday to assist in emergency water restriction efforts, he said, adding that he was glad it wasn’t a weekend day; his best for business.

“I think it’s probably reasonable with the problem they had,” Pierce said. “I didn’t mind being down.”

Peirce has been in the car wash business since 1975, when he opened his first facility on Fourth St, and he related that never in his nearly four decades of car-washing in Graham has he been worried about water like he is now.

Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.