Prolonged dry spells remind us water is a commodity, subject to precepts of supply and demand.
Mother Nature has been stingy with rainfall. A walk on brown, crunchy grass and a look at the cracked, parched ground provide ample evidence.
When nature cuts back on supply, people increase outdoor watering in an effort to preserve green lawns and costly landscaping.
The consequences are higher water bills and, depending on the water provider, demand that exceeds supply.
Missouri American Water, which serves 11,000 customers in the central parts of Jefferson City, anticipates no supply problems.
The company gets its water from the Missouri River and officials report a recent, $11 million water intake project has increased the system's capacity and reliability.
The situation is different for Public Water Supply Districts No. 1 and No. 2, which rely on deep wells. Each district serves about 5,000 customers in the city and Cole County.
The districts have asked customers to restrict water use and adhere to a schedule. Customers are asked to water lawns between midnight and 5 a.m. every other day - even-numbered addresses on even-numbered dates, and odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered dates.
The alternating schedule is designed so the wells can replenish the water supply and avoid falling short of customer demand.
Water, like air and food, is a necessity of life.
It also has numerous desirable uses, including: cooking, bathing or showering, flushing toilets, brushing teeth, and washing clothes and dishes.
Watering lawns also may be desirable, but - in comparison to other needs and wants - its priority ebbs.
We encourage district customers to respect the guidelines designed to ensure the availability of water for everyone.