Tens of thousands of customers in several counties in Ohio are facing a dramatic water shortage after the intake valves at a key plant that draws water from Lake Erie apparently froze amid the wild winter weather.
Officials at Avon Lake Municipal Utilities west of Cleveland said Wednesday that the valves at the plant are caked in ice. Although they are still able to draw water, the rate is below typical demands — which means several surrounding cities could be hit by a veritable drought.
In a message on the city of Avon's official website, officials called on residents to hold off on doing anything that uses a lot of water.
Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen sent out an emergency messages to locals asking them to hold off on laundry, baths and showers, according to Cleveland.com.
"We even ask people to refrain from flushing toilets as often as they used to until this can be resolved," Jensen said.
The plant website said it provides water to over 200,000 people living in a 680-square-mile area made up of seven counties — including Lorain, Cuyahoga, Medina, Erie, Huron, Ashland and Wayne.