Landscaper Joseph Rice has been busy, Augusta area lawns and gardens are growing and he's hasn't had to dodge many sprinklers this summer.
"Absolutely, nobody is having to water their yard. Lawns are growing twice as fast, as a year or two ago. It's amazing what a transformation it's made here in Augusta," said Rice, working on a lawn.
We are the Garden City. Many people love to show off their green thumbs, but things have been sprouting this year without the need for watering, and a lot of water bills are down.
"Absolutely, it's a good thing. Money in my pocket it's a good thing," said Rice.
But, these have been slow times at the Augusta Utilities Department. June water production was down ten percent, compared to a year ago. Even more in July...
During hot dry July's in the past, it would not be unusual to see the city treating 45 million, maybe even 50 million, gallons of water a day. But, this July is nowhere near that.
"Through the 18th of July, we were down 24% percent from the previous July. That's a huge hit," says Augusta Utilities Department director Tom Wiedmeier.
The filter plant is treating nearly 9 million gallons of water a day less than last July. Now, some of the water is not used, it's stored, but city officials say the drop in revenues are significant.
"If all of that was water was sold, it would be $1.4 million in a month, so that's a big hit," says Wiedmeier.
"That's a chunk of water right there," says Rice
"Are you surprised?" we asked Rice. "Yes, really even with all the rain, that's a good bit," he answered.
A third of the month remains, but revenues could be down several hundred thousand dollars, to maybe a million dollars, compared to a year ago.
But, while Wiedmeier acknowledges that's a big hit, he expects things to even out for the year.
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