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With drought, L-EWA asks to continue conserving

Posted: September 3, 2015 5:04 p.m.
Updated: September 4, 2015 1:00 a.m.

Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority Manager Mike Hancock, who is also a Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group (DMAG) member, is asking residents to keep conserving water as a State 1 drought continues.

Despite much needed and beneficial rainfall during August, the Catawba-Wateree River Basin remains in what is known as a Stage 1 Low Inflow Protocol, or LIP, according to the DMAG. LIP is the drought management plan major water users in the region use to conserve limited water supplies.

Summer temperatures and below-average rainfall during the course of the season kept two of the drought indicators in Stage 1. 

“Stage 1 is when it is not raining as it normally does. The basins are coming down a bit so we should start doing some voluntary curtailing to preserve what we have,” Hancock said.

At the beginning of July, the basin entered Stage 0 of the LIP. After observing declining trends, the DMAG declared Stage 1 conditions on July 20. Based on the drought status, water suppliers will continue promoting voluntary water conservation measures. Residents are encouraged to continue the specific recommendations suggested by their local water provider.

“What this really tells us is use the water you need, but if you don’t need it don’t waste it. Save that water because we could need it later,” Hancock said.

The Catawba-Wateree River Basin is used as a water source for residents from North Carolina into South Carolina. 

“The Catawba Wateree Drought Management Advisement Group is a group of water users and water providers that have come together as a result of a Duke (Energy) relicensing process. The Catawba Wateree Basin begins in North Carolina and comes south towards Rock Hill, Lugoff and Camden,” Hancock said. “Many individuals are affected so we all need to work together. What goes on up the river affects down river and what does on down river affects up the river.”

Because of this, he said, even though parts of the basin may not be affected by drought, the entire basin needs to respond.

“We try to act as one entity. Some time the drought is in one area but not in another but really we all need to conserve,” he said.

Hancock suggested small changes that residents could make to conserve water.

“There are common sense measures. I’ve either heard of people taking a pot to put in the shower. The water that doesn’t go down the drain that the pot collects can be used to water your house hold plants with. Also, you can use blower to clean off your of drive way instead of washing it off,” Hancock said. 

He said past droughts have proved that residents are cooperative with cutting back on water usage.

“We’ve noticed that ever since the 2008 drought, people have adjusted their water usage and actually cut back to some degree. This is a good thing for us all. It shows we can make the water up and down the basin last a little longer,” he said.

Hancock is optimistic winter may bring much needed rain to the region.

“We need rain all up and down the basin. It could get worse but we’ve been told … climatologists have said that, historically, it has been a wet winter. We are in hopes that history will prove itself right and in the colder months will get increased rain fall,” Hancock said.

The DMAG will continue monitoring conditions and work collectively to protect the water supply and other uses of the Catawba-Wateree River.

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