AMARILLO, TEXAS — Some people don’t realize the drought can affect the city and water management.

We sat down with City Manager Jarrett Atkinson to find out how you can help conserve water after a record setting year.

Officials tell us last year’s drought hasn’t affected the water supply long term, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had an impact on our short-term future.

Especially after coming off Amarillo’s worst year of usage ever, including four straight months of using more than two billion gallons.

“When you get in the situation like that you’re putting a phenomenal stress on your existing system. pumps, motors, actual wells themselves, pipes, et cetera. that kind of demand, that kind of load certainly if we experience it again this summer, we’re going to continue to have problems with the infrastructure.”

As far as our water supply, Atkinson says coming into this summer, Amarillo is in much better shape then we were as a city last summer.

“We’ve continued with our projects like the Potter County well field, of course CRMWA has continued their efforts, so supply wise we’re in good shape, but the better job we do handling the water that’s currently developed and currently available to us, the longer it lasts.”

It will also prolong the need for future large capital projects to bring that water supply online.

Which is where Atkinson says the truly biggest costs come from.

“Water conservation again extends the life of the supplies both current supply and your long term supply. It is a better and more responsible use of a finite resource, and in the end it save you and i money, just as it does everybody else.”

Inching into spring and summer, he says we all need to continue our conservation efforts.

Especially since the biggest use of water through high demand periods is outdoor watering.

“That’s primarily yards, grass, certainly flowers, gardens and other things, but it’s outdoor use, that’s where we can have the most effect, not only on the system as a whole but on each of us individually as we look at our water bills each month.”

Atkinson says he hopes to continue the “Every Drop Counts” campaign, and to keep the water you pay for on your lawn and not on your sidewalk.

Atkinson also said the city’s biggest user of water is the parks and recreation department, and it plans to make bigger conservation efforts over the course of the year.