Abnormally dry conditions cause water shortage emergency; conservation efforts issued

Published: May. 28, 2019 at 5:51 PM EDT
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SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Most of southeastern North Carolina is listed as abnormally dry for this time of year, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The First Alert Weather team is forecasting hot and mainly dry weather over the next week which will exacerbate this situation. Some areas are urging residents to conserve water until further notice while others have issued a water shortage emergency.

A water shortage emergency has been declared for residents in the Hampstead and Scott’s Hill areas of Pender County until further notice.

Pender County Utilities issued the declaration Sunday citing abnormally dry conditions, increased usage of water from the Rocky Point-Topsail Water and Sewer District System and current equipment and facilities limitations.

According to a news release, the availability of potable water in Hampstead and Scott’s Hill is at reduced levels which could result in low system pressure and loss of water service.

“Pender is evaluating additional water sources for the Hampstead and Scott’s Hill area to meet current and future demands," says Pender County Public Utilities Director Kenny Keel. “We are in negotiations with a couple of entities. The plan is to start design in July and hopefully start reviving water in 12 to 18 months. We are trying to develop some other short term remedies in the meantime.”

PCU customers are urged to conserve water. Do not wash cars, water lawns and fill appliances such as clothes washers when you use them.

According to County Manager Randell Woodruff, commissioners and administration have been working to address infrastructure issues as the county continues to grow.

“It appeared that we still had time to finalize these sources without an impact to the water system,” says Keel. “However, the current drought situation, excessive heat, and widespread frequent irrigation within these areas led to our current shortage.”

“We have been in negotiations for an interconnection with another water system, as well as the potential construction of a water treatment plant on the east side of the county,” Commissioner David Williams added.

Despite what was previously reported, Chairman George Brown said a drought surcharge will not be applied to customers’ bills at this time.

Pender County Utilities customers in Hampstead, Scott’s Hill, and South of 7390 NC 210 in Rocky Point are advised to boil all water used for human consumption until further notice.

On Monday, Pender County Schools announced that it will operate on a normal schedule when classes resume Tuesday, May 28.

An update on school tomorrow in the Hampstead area.

Posted by Pender County Schools on Monday, May 27, 2019

On Tuesday afternoon, Brunswick County declared a Stage 1 water conservation alert effective immediately throughout the county.

Under a Stage 1 water alert, water system customers are requested to make voluntary adjustments to their water usage habits to reduce peak demands. (A peak demand of 80 percent of system production and distribution capacity is being targeted).

Irrigation demands represent the bulk of non-essential water use, so a primary way customers may reduce water usage is to limit irrigation. A unified application of voluntary water reductions by all water system users in Brunswick County may help to avoid mandatory water restrictions in the event drought conditions do not lessen.

“Due to drought conditions combined with the increased amount of visitors in the area during the holiday weekend, Brunswick County Public Utilities is experiencing record water demands,” the statement read.

This Stage 1 alert does not affect the use of private groundwater wells or those using highly treated reclaimed wastewater, like golf courses.

There is no need to boil water for potable use unless a low pressure advisory notice is issued for your area due to other conditions in the water distribution system.

For more information, call Brunswick County Public Utilities at 910-253-2657 or click here.

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