Rain not nearly enough to lift any Decatur water restrictions


DECATUR -- We've had some rain here in Decatur, and more is on its way. But Central Illinois is still deep in the drought.

There hasn't been enough rainfall to fix the drought, but city officials say it's helping little by little.

According to Keith Alexander, Director of Water Management, Lake Decatur is currently 3.5 feet below where it should be. That means the lake is about 58 percent full.

But it's in better shape now than it was last week, said Alexander. Weekend rains from Isaac helped fill the lake 4.5 inches.

Now that may not seem like much, but it was at its lowest point all summer. So low, Alexander says, the city was close to enacting Stage 3 water restrictions.

As for the current water restrictions being lifted -- it will take a lot of rain.

"If we got another couple inches of rain this weekend, will that help fill the lake? Absolutely," Alexander said. "But we can't say with any certainty whether or not that would be enough to raise it high enough that we're comfortable enough to lift some of the restrictions."

In order for that to happen, water management says the lake would need to rise at least 1.5 feet, with the addition of steady water flow from the Sangamon River for at least three weeks.

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