Mayor W. Benjamin Brown again pleaded with city residents Friday to conserve water because of the drought.

Residents seem to have not heeded the City Council's request two weeks ago to stop water usage outside, Brown said.

"We see an annual reduction during the week of July 4 because people are taking vacations," he said. "The past week, it's been right back up to over 2 million gallons a day."

Because of the drought, the city has been forced to draw water from its raw water reservoir, which usually contains 120 million gallons, Brown said. The reserve has been drained to 75 million gallons, he said.

If the city does not register a 20 percent reduction -- or 400,000 fewer gallons per day-- in the next two weeks, mandatory restrictions will be put in place.

Outside water use for non-business purposes will be prohibited.Violators would receive a $25 fine for the first offense and $50 forevery subsequent offense.

"I don't think we need to be treated like little children and ordered (to conserve water)," he said. "I think it makes sense, and I think we're adults and capable of seeing that."

Brown said the last time residents were forced to conserve water was October about two years ago.

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