The joint powers board that supplies water to a region of water districts and the city of Casper has instituted a mandatory irrigation ban for all its customers, basically, no watering your lawns for 72 hours. The water treatment plant that gives the secondary water supply to the system has a ruptured intake pipe.

Backup water supply is broke down:

"Right now our combined capacity would be about 40 million gallons a day. Again, because of the high water, we can get about 16, 17 million gallons a day from the well field, so if we get back to some normal temperatures, we'll probably be okay and we'll be able to lift the moratorium."

Paul Bertoglio, chairman of the Central Wyoming Regional Water System Joint Powers Board says the regular water demand for Casper and region is about 6 million gallons a day, which the wells that supply the system with water can easily handle.

Trouble is, when people start watering their lawns, that demand for water can go up to around 20 million gallons a day.

Restriction only applies to watering:

"There are other mechanisms if this were to go beyond the 72-hours. We may request, sit down as a board with our customers and come up with some, a little less stringent mandatory restrictions which might be like they do in many communities you can only water on odd and even days, things like that, just to cut the capacity back."

The wells can provide from 13 to 17 million gallons, so in the summer, they use the treatment plant to provide the extra water.

Irrigation triples water usage:

"We go from 6 million gallons to 20 million gallons for June, July and August and all that increase is for when people start watering their yards."

Chairman Bertoglio said this (Monday) morning, they went to start up the treatment plant and discovered that the intake pipe was ruptured. The 72-hour mandatory irrigation ban will hopefully give them enough time to repair the 3-foot-diameter concrete pipe by Thursday.

When asked for worst-case scenario, Bertoglio said the water tanks, set up high so gravity will distribute the water, those tanks can be emptied and they may not have the water to fill them back up.

Worst-case scenario, tanks go dry:

"The last couple of days with the heat and wind it's really going to dry out fast and our concern is that people will all of a sudden really start asking for a lot of water and at that point, our tanks may in fact run dry and we will not have the ability to meet just domestic consumption demand."

Bertoglio mentioned a few exceptions. If you just put in grass, or you have young trees, don't let them dry out. But for established lawns and trees, don't water, they'll be okay and the weather may help.