August 4, 2008

Prolonged Drought Has City Watching Use

By David Nivens, High Point Enterprise, N.C.

Aug. 4--HIGH POINT -- Many Triad officials are watching Winston-Salem closely to see if they will have to restrict water use to deal with the drought.

Although the state Drought Management Advisory Council has placed Triad counties in moderate to severe drought conditions, High Point reserves at Oak Hollow Lake and City Lake are good for now, said Terry Houk, High Point's assistant public services director.

"Our lakes are at 89 percent capacity," Houk said Friday. "But we do expect water use to go up because of the heat, and we encourage people to watch their water use. What rain we have had has kept irrigation use down."

Forecasts call for hot temperatures to continue for the next week to 10 days, broken only by occasional thundershowers.

Winston-Salem and Forsyth County officials have asked residents and businesses to voluntarily begin restricting their water use because the Yadkin River is approaching the level reached during the 2002 drought. The July flow was the lowest in 10 years, partly because Triad rainfall was 2.5 inches below the July norm.

Greensboro water customers have been under similar restrictions since April 11.

A new law will give North Carolina governors and state officials more power Oct. 1 to ensure local governments conserve water during designated shortages by requiring them to adopt and enforce use restrictions and to share water. The governor will have the authority to declare a local water emergency.

"High Point has interconnections with Greensboro and Thomasville," Houk said. "We could also help Jamestown and Archdale if necessary."


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