The recent series of wintery mixes (I won’t call it snowfall) has taken our minds off the drought somewhat. And it’s true that the precipitation has helped our area’s water levels. A quick glance at the Drought Management Advisory Council’s monitoring map confirms this. It also shows that the situation remains pretty dire in the central part of the state, including all of North Carolina’s largest cities.
With no deluge in rainfall expected, Gov. Mike Easley has called for a program that effectively penalizes high water users. To add teeth to the “conservation is patriotic” push, the state now tracks weekly water usage for every system to see who’s cutting back and who’s keeping the taps running.
We’re kind of the odd ones out in Surry. Not only is our drought far less severe, our four municipal systems are struggling to break even and are trying to increase water revenues to replace departed industry. There’s a lingering worry among many public officials I talk to that we might be forced to cut back drastically here on consumption so there’s more water left downstream, which would in turn force rates up.
Some funding for water lines (about 100 miles worth of them heading south) sure would come in handy right now.