::NC Mountains See Extreme Drought
By Raleigh Chronicle Staff And Wire Reports
Friday, May 25, 2007
RALEIGH -- The lack of rainfall in western North Carolina has reached such a critical point that North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has called for drastic measures to be taken in those affected counties.
This week, Governor Easley directed state agencies in 12 western North Carolina counties that are in extreme or severe drought to stop non-essential water use.
Easley sent a letter to his cabinet secretaries directing department employees in the 12 counties to stop washing vehicles, using water for ornamental purposes, watering grass and washing down surfaces such as sidewalks.
Cherokee County, Clay County, and Graham County have been classified as being in an extreme drought with deficiencies in water resources available for water supply based on based on stream flows as well as lake, reservoir and ground water levels.
Other counties have been classified as being in a severe drought including Buncombe County, Haywood County, Jackson County, Macon County, Madison County, Mitchell County, Swain County, Transylvania County, and Yancey County.
In the southern mountains, the state says that many reservoirs are operating at below normal water levels. Stream and ground water levels in that area are also far below normal for this time of the year, said the governor's office.
In a statement to the media, Easley said he is also urging state and local governments and the public to conserve water statewide.
"Today I directed state agencies in the 12 hardest hit counties to stop using water for anything that is not related to public health and safety. This step is necessary because water supplies are becoming limited in those counties and we are still very early in the season," Easley said. "Memorial Day is typically when demand for water increases, so I am urging North Carolinians in all 100 counties to voluntarily limit all non-essential uses of water and observe any water restrictions that may be in place in your communities."
The Governor also recommended the following voluntary conservation measures for all North Carolina residents:
--Take shorter showers.
--Do not leave the water running while rinsing dishes, shaving or brushing teeth.
--Limit car washing. Use a bucket and a hose with a spray attachment.
--Add compost and other organic matter to your soil to improve its water-holding capacity.
--Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge, instead of running tap water until it is cold.
--Use a bucket to water your plants, not a hose.
--Water lawns in the morning or evening, not in the heat of the day, to prevent evaporation.
Drought officials say moderate drought has now spread from the mountains to the southern coast of North Carolina and much of the rest of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
For a more information on the state-wide drought conditions, visit www.ncdrought.org.