The Crossville City Council approved a motion to encourage water customers of the city and utility districts they serve to conserve water as a serious drought shows little sign of breaking.

Crossville city manager Jack Miller explained to the council that the area is under a serious drought condition and with the recent appeals from Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and the local Emergency Management Agency, the city has moved forward with a contingency drought conservation plan.

Miller stressed, "There is no cause for panic, but the drought is serious enough to warrant this action and the long range weather forecasts for the next couple months don't show any relief."

The city's director of water resources, Jerry Kerley, told the council that Meadow Park Lake is down some 4 feet at the current time and they have reduced the amount of water being pumped from that lake while increasing the amount of water taken from Holiday Lake for the time being.

"Meadow Park Lake is as low as it was in October last year," said Kerley.

The council agreed to advise and encourage restrictions on water use including no nonessential use of domestic water supply such as washing of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots or other paved areas.

Other restrictions include:

No watering of golf courses, sports fields, outdoor recreation areas or lawns;

No watering of flower beds between the hours 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.;

No washing of non-commercial vehicles, privately owned motor homes, trailers or boats. Car washes are exempt;

No filling or refilling of swimming pools; and

No use of water for dust control.

Council members discussed whether or not to institute the restrictions under the city ordinance that provides for fines in the case of violation. Council members agreed that for now they would only issue the restrictions as an advisory recommendation and then see if it would be necessary to invoke the ordinance after seeing how the results of voluntary restrictions work. The goal is a 10 to 15 percent reduction in water use and the council will get a progress report in about two weeks.

Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III said, "We have a tremendous pool of water, but our experience in September and October is there is not much rain."

According to city attorney Ken Chadwell, the water sales contracts the city has in place with some utility districts allow the city to put restrictions in effect even outside of the city limits. Currently the city restrictions apply to all city water customers including the Catoosa water department, South Cumberland Utility District and Grandview Utility district.

The motion to institute the advisory restrictions was approved by the council unanimously.