Local News

Farmers Find 'Ingenious' Ways to Get Water

Posted October 12, 2007 6:42 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2007 6:45 p.m. EDT

— People in Warren County are only under voluntary conservation measures, but the water shortage is having a harsh trickle-down effect on local farmers.

Many are finding creative ways to get their water, including legally tapping into a fire hydrant.

It's that time of year when Paul Harris and his crew plant their strawberry crops. The strawberries require a good bit of watering. Lately, that's been easier said than done.

“I’m just trying to do what I got to do to make it through this situation,” Harris said.

Harris normally pumps water from a pond on his property, but it has been bone dry. So he looked across the street from his farm for a radical solution.

“I had to take an alternative and buy water from the county, all they’d let me buy,” he said.

Harris tapped into the fire hydrant to water his crops, and the county was fine with it.

“If they’re in need, they’re in need, and we want to try to help the citizens of the county in any way we can,” said Macon Robertson, with Warren County Public Utilities.

The county and Harris have an agreement where they will monitor his daily water use and Harris pays the county for the water. This is just one of several ways Warren County farmers are creating new water sources.

“We have on record and on file anyone that is authorized to use the fire hydrant or to use any part of the water system or the water source itself,” Robertson said.

Other farmers have rigged different ways to tap into the county's water system. John Skinner trucks water to his livestock in thousand-gallon tanks.

“Farmers are probably the most ingenious as far as coming up with inventions,” Skinner said.

Despite their creativity, the drought is leaving its mark on farmers with many still unable to plant crops they normally would have in the ground already.

Harris said he was unable to plant next year's wheat harvest because the ground was too dry.