Published: Jun 14, 2011 10:41 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 14, 2011 10:31 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- Cape Coral canals are drying up in the drought, with waterways reaching all new lows.

"We're reaching close to desert-like dry conditions outside," Cape Utilities Director Jeff Pearson said Tuesday.

Joyce Easton says her waterline is now five feet lower usual.

"It's never gone this low. This is the lowest it's been," she said.

But aside from aesthetics, the issue has Cape water plants facing a serious problem. Cape Coral's two water treatment plants pump out about 21 million gallons of canal water each day.

Now, their supply is running dangerously low. The automatic shutoff at the Everest Parkway plant even went off over the weekend to save its bare minimum emergency supply.

"We always keep at least a million gallons in the tank for firefighting, reserved exclusively because we have some of our fire hydrants that are exclusively on reclaimed water," Pearson said.

But that doesn't give much comfort to some Cape residents who rely on well water.

"If a major fire were to happen here with everything as dry as it is, I don't know if they'd be able to get enough water out of the canals to use. We have no hydrants here at all," Easton said.

Cape Utilities is now in the process of transferring water North of Pine Island Road to the plants to help supply the South Cape area. But in the meantime, city leaders say the only permanent fix to the problem is some much needed rain.

"We're really at the mercy of Mother Nature with the current drought we're in. We're hoping that changes really soon," Pearson said.

Right now, Cape Coral is restricting outdoor watering to two days a week, but that could go down to one day a week if conditions worsen. Any change in restrictions is up to the Cape Coral City Council.