Consider This: Water Conservation

North Carolina's drought has reached near-crisis levels, and our area is no exception. We're 21 inches below normal rainfall amounts.

The combination of below-average rainfall and above-average heat is stressing both surface water supplies and deep aquifers. Fresh water levels in lakes, rivers and streams are at near-record lows, and salt water is pushing farther inland up the Cape Fear River.

While the drought is not critical in our area yet, the National Weather Service projects a drier-than-usual winter which could lead to a water availability crisis next year.

The governor has asked every citizen to cut their water usage in half and many communities have imposed voluntary water restrictions, asking residents to stop using water for any purpose that is not essential to public health, like washing boats and cars, or watering lawns.

The City of Wilmington has imposed mandatory restrictions on all outdoor use of water. So why do people continue to ignore the problem? We hear answers like: "I have a well, so the irrigation ban doesn't apply to me" as if their well is totally separate from the aquifer that we all share, or "It's not mandatory and I don't want to have to replace my grass or trees or plants if they die" as if the rest of us are looking forward to replacing ours.

Seventy percent of municipal water is used for non-domestic purposes such as watering lawns. Ever driven down the road on a rainy day and noticed people's sprinklers on? We waste untold amounts of water every day, and no one pays attention to the consequences even when we're warned a crisis is looming.

Go to this website right now to see more than 100 ways to save water. Share them with your family, friends and neighbors. If everyone will just adopt some of these water-saving tips, we can avoid a full-scale water crisis.

That's what we think. Tell us what you think. kd