This is something I wrote for the internet Friday morning:
CEDAR RAPIDS – The Linn County Emergency Management Agency boils Cedar Rapids’ water situation down to the old and kind of gross adage.
“If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” Dustin Hinrichs, public information officer, said during a Friday morning interview.” If it’s brown, flush it down. It might be excessive to say that, but at the same time, it’s important to conserve water.”
Hinrichs said the city is monitoring water levels at the reservoir tanks and the levels aren’t going up. If that continues, a boil order could be issued.
“It’s not conserve water because the world is going to be better because of it,”Hinrichs said. “It’s conserve water because we might not have any tomorrow unless we drastically conserve more than we have.”
And it’s not just a few days. The city is asking for extreme water conservation for a minimum of three weeks.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Kay Halloran was short and to the point.
“Don’t flush toilets,” she said.
Hinrichs started to make the point, “If we’re not able to cut we’re not able to cut our water usage . . . ” Then Halloran finished, “We won’t have any at all.”
Halloran would issue a mandatory conservation order, if OK’d by Gov. Chet Culver. “Put the piece of paper in front of me and I’ll sign it.”
“Water is crucial,” Hinrichs said. “Our community can get along with just about anything, but we really can’t get along without water. Without our public water system, bottled water is going to go like extremely quickly. We’d like to avoid that eventuality if we can.”
In our interview, it was 4:30 a.m. Friday, Hinrichs kept mentioning the term “over with.” I asked him to define “over with.”
“Basically, until regular services are restored,” he said. “There’s obviously going to be an immense clean-up effort once floodwater subsides, but we’re still quite a few days from even thinking about that at this point.”
Inside Mercy’s Lundy Pavilion at 1 a.m. Friday. (I wish I could convey the organized urgency.)