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DROUGHT ALERT: Winterset Asks Residents To Conserve

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In the middle of November, Winterset residents have more than just holiday shopping in town square on their minds.

If moisture doesn't come soon, the town could struggle to provide water to its residents in 2013.

"It’s definitely a concern. I think we need to be more careful with our supply so we'll have water for our children and grandchildren," said Winterset resident, Peggy Casper.

Winterset hasn't seen significant rain fall in months, and it's taken a toll on Cedar Lake, the town's primary source for drinking water.

"Water levels are down five feet from the top of our spillway. Typically we'd like them at the top of our spillway,” said Scott Wesselmann, general manager for Winterset Municipal Utilities.

It has forced water works officials to call for a stage one drought alert, asking residents to conserve water.

Wesselmann says it is action usually taken during the summer months.

"This is the latest we've ever been in a drought."

At five feet below normal, Cedar Lake is far from dried up but the problem is slowly getting worse.

The lake is losing about two inches of water each week and if levels reach 9 feet below, utility workers will begin considering emergency options.

"There are a lot of things we can do. We have a well in town we can kick on," Wesselmann told Channel 13 News.

For now, Winterset is counting on its residents to cut back on water use and hoping Mother Nature will do her part.

"There are a lot of little things we can do that if we all do them, it could make a lot of difference," Peggy Casper said.