ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The City of St. Pete has an urgent plea ahead of Hurricane Ian: reduce the amount of water you’re using.

The city’s public works department said its’ spent $400 million since 2016 to improve its waste and storm water systems so they’re ready for a storm like this Ian.

500 public works employees will be working around the clock during the storm to make sure the systems are up and running.

“We’ve also done a lot of work out in the collection system, lining our sewer system, fixing manholes, trying to take care of any leaks that would allow ground water or storm water to enter into our system and inundate our system in our plants,” said Claude Tankersley, Public Works administrator.

Tankersley said the city is now asking for your help to conserve water and avoid nonessential usage, including washing clothes or dishes.

“We’re not turning off water,” said Tankersley. “We are not turning off sewage, but we are asking you if you don’t need to wash that load of laundry, if you don’t need to wash those dishes, please don’t do that during the storm.”

Since 2016, the city has been modernizing improving the equipment when there were issues with sewage overflows.

If you’re having a problem with your system you can call 727-893-7111. Emergency issues can be reported to the Water Resources Dispatch Center: 727-893-7261.