If Provo residents use water wisely by being prudent in sprinkling, the city should be able to avoid any further problems with this year's reduced supply of culinary water, says Merril Bingham, public works director.

The city is asking residents to avoid sprinkling lawns and gardens between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. This will provide several hours during the day when system demand is reduced and the city is able to get water into storage reservoirs."At this point in time we do not anticipate further restrictions or rationing," a status report released by the city said. "While we hope to avoid it, the possibility does exist that we may have to impose mandatory restrictions on water use."

Bingham stressed that Provo's ability to continue to meet system water demands depends on the weather and the willingness of the residents to voluntarily conserve water.

"The point we want to emphasize is that the community really does have a lot of control over whether or not we are in a mandatory situation later," he said.

Provo's water supply is low because the past two winters have set near-record lows for precipitation in the Provo area. Bingham said that "is probably unprecedented in recorded history. That's a lot of water to have to make up."

In a normal year, Provo receives approximately two-thirds of its culinary water supply from mountain springs. At the present time, combined spring areas are producing approximately 10.5 million gallons less each day than what they would during a normal year. This deficit represents a significant portion of the city's peak daily demand, which is approximately 48 million gallons.

The status report points out that the greatest water consumption is in outside use of water for landscape maintenance. Bingham said it makes more sense to water lawns and gardens during the off hours because a lot of water is lost to evaporation when watering occurs during the heat of the day.

He said summer rain showers have little impact on the city's water supply but have a great impact on system demand for a few days. Bingham said the city hopes to make it through this water-short year through individual conservation efforts.