MORGANTON, N.C. – Residents in Morganton are being told to conserve water after at least three million gallons were drained from the city’s water system after a 12-inch main and an 8-inch line broke early Wednesday morning.

According to Morganton officials, the leaks were first noticed around 6 a.m.

“A little after 6 a.m. this morning, when our use started to peak, the water level in the Dale Circle and Valdese Avenue tanks started to drop dramatically,” said Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Jason Green. “We lost 15 feet of water in the tanks in less than an hour.”

Green said he isn’t sure when the breaks occurred, but thinks the leaks worsened overnight. While water demand was low, the water plant was able to “keep up” with usage, but as more water was used Wednesday morning, the tanks’ levels dropped significantly.

“We effectively eliminated a couple million gallons of storage in the system that normally supplies peak demand,” Green said. “Everything leaving the plant right now is satisfying current demand.”

Green said City workers were able to locate the leaks after trying to determine why water pressure was low in several neighborhoods, even after isolating the main break.