Nashvillians do not appear to be heeding a state order to conserve water in Davidson County.
On Monday, Metro’s water reserve was at 64 percent of its capacity. The available supply dipped to 48 percent Tuesday morning and by afternoon, it was down to 37 percent.
Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter has been urging customers to cut their usage as he provides incremental updates on the city's dwindling reserves.
Customers were asked to cut their usage by half when one of the city’s two water treatment plants flooded Saturday night. But many Nashvillians continued to water lawns — often by sprinklers automatically set by a timer — and wash cars splattered with dirt and mud from the record weekend rainfall.
“We’ve got to get people to conserve water because as the demand increases, our reserve capacity is going to go down,” he said.
Car washes remain open
Metro police have asked Nashville's private car wash operators to close up shop until the water shortage has passed. But contrary to some reports, police are not cruising the city and shutting down operations doing business.
According to police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford, the department is in discussions with Metro Legal to explore any recourse that might be available to force car washes to close for the duration of the shortage. As of now, she said, police have simply requested — not ordered — those businesses to stop washing cars.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a statewide mandatory order to cut water usage in half on Tuesday, the first time it has ever done so on such a scale.
TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke said residents “should follow the direction of the water utilities as they work to preserve water supplies.”
That has not happened, particularly in Nashville, where officials said Tuesday evening that lack of conservation has resulted in a 63 percent depletion of water reserves.
Nashville’s lone functioning water treatment plant is Omohundro, with the K.R. Harrington plant submerged.
Prison inmates filled and stacked sandbags in a successful effort to save the Omohundro plant. With only a foot to go before water would flood the facility, the Cumberland River crested Monday night at 51.9 feet.