The summer's hot, dry weather has meant more watering and a higher demand on electricity and water for the city, but the drought's impact has been minimal, city officials said.

The summer's hot, dry weather has meant more watering and a higher demand on electricity and water for the city, but the drought's impact has been minimal, city officials said.

City Water and Electric Division directors said there has been more demand on the city's systems this summer with the hot, dry weather, but the demand has been well within what the city can handle.

In June, when the weather was at its hottest, the city's water division had a 27 percent greater output than in June 2011, and in July, the output was 13 percent than July 2011, said Water Division Superintendent Dick Lorenz.

"It was the manufacturing, or the water plant, that was the most severely impacted but not necessarily a problem," Lorenz said. "We are rated by the EPA to treat so many millions of gallons a day, and we stayed below that during the peak day we had."

Lorenz said he credits public education with keeping usage levels lower than they could have been. The city has long had an ordinance requiring that residents with even-numbered addresses to water on even days of the month and residents with odd-numbered addresses to do the opposite.

The city reminded residents of that ordinance through media outreach, its website, utility bills and general announcements.

"In June, when we saw the driest period and the spike in usage going up, we doubled back and reinforced our odd/even water law conservation methods," Lorenz said. "We didn't enact any new legislation or restrictions; we just did an educational piece on what we already had in place."

Residents complying with city law has been crucial in dealing with the hot, dry summer, Lorenz said.

"We've got the conservation program in place. The citizens of Westerville, for the most part, accept that and understand that and abide by it, and that allows us to get through these short periods of time that come up every few years," Lorenz said.

Electric Division Manager Andrew Boatright told a similar story.

While no legal restrictions exist for the city's electric customers, Boatright said the city sent out reminders to residents to keep energy usage lower through its website and social media.

Through the hot weather, electric usage did rise, but not high enough to tax the system, Boatright said. In fact, peak usage was as high as previous years, but not higher, he said.

"We really didn't get a peak this summer, which we thought would occur. We thought we'd hit a new peak with flying colors because it was so hot for such a sustained period of time. Generally, that's what causes a new peak to occur," he said.

Two summers ago, the city's Electric Division set the current record for output: 113 megawatts, Boatright said.

"We actually hit that level this summer, and we were expecting it to be several megawatts higher than that," he said.

Boatright said he attributes the lack of an energy spike in hot weather to residents wanting to save money on their utility bills.

"People seem to be taking heed (of advice to save energy) and it probably is more a function of just wanting to find ways to keep more of their disposable income in their pockets -- just trying to save money," Boatright said.

Watching energy consumption helps save money in both the long and short term for residents, Boatright said. If the city exceeds its peak usage, its wholesale energy price increases, leading to higher bills for residents in the future.

"This is a good thing. Frankly, we're happy we didn't set any new records this year," Boatright said.

One city department that did have to make changes due to the weather this year was the Department of Parks and Recreation.

With the hot, dry weather, the department had to increase its watering of plants and young trees, said department Director Randy Auler.

"We have a crew that goes around and waters the trees and the plants pretty much every day on a cycle," Auler said.

At the same time, the drought also meant that the grass had to be mowed less frequently, allowing the city to reallocate funds usually used for regular grass mowing to watering, Auler said.

"As far as budget and operations and people resources, everything worked well this summer," he said. "We just shifted some of our resources within the operation. We didn't incur any additional cost."