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St. James Parish government’s Vacherie water plant, as seen Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.

St. James Parish officials said Wednesday their Mississippi River water plants have tentatively caught up with demand that had threatened to force rolling water outages a day earlier.

Public messages issued Tuesday afternoon urging residents to conserve water staved off the need to cut service, as parish officials had warned, and allowed the water system to begin refilling its storage tanks, a parish spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"We're still asking residents to conserve water as much as possible, especially because we're still expected to have some colder temperatures later this week," said Meredith Conger, a parish spokeswoman.

The St. James Parish government's water system supplies 5,900 customers in the unincorporated communities on both sides of the river, including Convent, Paulina, Vacherie and St. James.

The system uses Mississippi water and has treatment plants on either side of the river as well as a series of elevated and ground storage tanks.

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Lutcher and Gramercy, two municipalities, have their own water systems.

In a warning Tuesday, parish officials said the system was making 1,700 gallons per minute of water, but residents and businesses running faucets and taking other measures to prevent frozen pipes had boosted demand to 1,900 gallons per minute.

Conger said Wednesday that after residents appeared to heed the parish's conservation messages, the water system overcame that 200-gallon-per-minute deficit and was ahead of demand as of mid-Wednesday morning.

Still, she said, demand does continue to fluctuate, and temperatures are expected to drop again later this week across the region.

The high Wednesday in Paulina, for example, is expected to reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but nighttime lows of 28 degrees are expected on Thursday and again on Friday, the National Weather Service says. 


Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.