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      Watch your water usage in La Harpe

      The reservoir is 2 feet below its normal level.

      Water is becoming a scarce resource for many Tri-States communities.

      La Harpe, Illinois is just one of several towns asking residents to conserve water where ever they can.

      Right now the town is trying to be proactive to help avoid harsh consequences in the next few months.

      "The creek that we pump out for this particular plant is basically dried. I mean it's dried up," Mayor Ken Brown said.

      Right now the main reservoir for La Harpe is down about two feet from its normal level.

      "As it stands right now it's basically dried up to where we can't pump water into this lake here so that's the big concern right now," Brown said.

      There is no ban for water usage yet, but if drought conditions persist, residents of La Harpe could soon see notice that nonessential water uses are illegal.

      "Right now we've asked the community to kind of conserve a little bit, as far as watering lawns and gardens. We have a water salesmen and we sell water to farmers and we've had to shut it off," Superintendent Tim Graves said.

      LaHarpe Water and Sewer Department hopes that if all of their approximately 600 customers use water sparingly, they can avoid some of the hardships they faced the last time they experienced a severe drought.

      "In '88 we asked the car washes to shut down basically, and we hate to do that because they're a business and they rely on that," Graves said.

      At that time the reservoir was down 4 feet below its normal depth.

      The town has a three alternative water sources to fall back on, but if they do not get the reservoir full before winter they could have other problems.

      "You'll have what you call a freeze, and having it back down low, we will have a fish freeze, and that will kill off a lot of fish in the reservoir," Assistant Supervisor Daniel Carpenter explained.

      The USDA currently ranks the La Harpe area as having moderate to severe drought conditions.