By Tim Leeds
While more of the country is slipping into drought, some communities in north-central Montana are easing their water restrictions.
Bob Painter, supervisor of the Chinook water treatment plant, said today that the amount of dirt in the water he's treating has decreased enough that the city has completely lifted its water restrictions.
"It's been pretty good for the last couple of days," he added.
The Chinook City Council lifted the restrictions July 11.
The Hill County Water District, which serves much of the county from the Big Sandy bridge west of Havre to the Liberty County border, eased its restrictions July 10.
The watering times allowed by the district have been extended from 8 p.m. until 10 a.m. The previous restrictions stopped watering at 8 a.m.
Havre water treatment plant superintendent Jeff Jensen said the water he's treating is still pretty muddy. With more work being done to upgrade the plant, restrictions will continue in Havre this summer.
Painter said the city of Chinook is still asking people to use common-sense conservation techniques, even though it looks like the city will have plenty of water this year.
"You're wasting water if you water at noon," he said.
The treatment plant's staffers, who are both fairly new, were a great help while the plant was running 24 hours a day, Painter said. Supplying the city's water would have been difficult without them.
"For new guys, they did an outstanding job," he said.