SAINT JOHN, Ind. - The hot and dry weather is creating a major water shortage for one northwest Indiana town.
Residents of Saint John are being asked to stop watering their lawns, among other activities, and it is unlikely to get better anytime soon.
There was no splashing at Saint John’s “Splash Pad” Tuesday, which was a disappointment for families looking to beat the heat.
“I drove by yesterday just to be sure it was still on and then we had planned to meet here this morning. So when we got here, there’s a sign that says the splash park was closed and here they are in their suits enjoying the park, but not the splash pad,” said Peggy Suppes.
On Monday, the town posted a message on its Facebook page asking residents to voluntarily stop watering their lawns, filling their swimming pools and washing their cars.
Residents are not happy, with one posting on Facebook: “What a crock. Not only is it some of the worst water around... But [now] I am told that I can’t use it to water my sod that I paid a mint for?! Better get it together St. John.”
“We can all do our part to make sure we have enough water for the town’s needs. For example, if we fight a fire, we want to make sure we have enough water on hand to be able to do that,” said Saint John town manager Craig Phillips.
Weeks of hot and dry conditions have exacerbated an ongoing water problem.
Even though Lake Michigan is only 15 miles away, Saint John is not allowed to tap into it because the town is not entirely inside the Great Lakes watershed.
And recent attempts to drill new wells have come up empty or tainted with iron.
“We don’t have enough of it. And they continue to build more houses without a plan for what we’re gonna do,” said resident Shannon Stosich.
Indeed, Saint John’s population has exploded over the past decade with new housing developments popping up like weeds.
“We take a look at the capacity of our lines and ability to deliver water to those areas. It is changing the attitude of the counsel in regard to water usage,” said Phillips.
The town has been buying millions of gallons from neighboring Schererville to keep the water flowing, but if the rain doesn’t come soon, the voluntary conservation rules may be enforced with fines.