Monday, March 4, 2024

Unfortunately, no, the weekend storm did not lift mandatory water restrictions

Sunday's storm may have brought rain and cooler temperatures, but it wasn't enough to lift water conservation alerts in the Cape Fear region. (Port City Daily/File photo)
Sunday’s storm may have brought rain and cooler temperatures, but it wasn’t enough to lift water conservation alerts in the Cape Fear region. (Port City Daily/File photo)

Don’t let Sunday’s storm fool you; water use alerts remain in place in the Cape Fear region. Mandatory water use restrictions are active in Pender and New Hanover Counties while Brunswick County’s alert remains voluntary.

SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. — Though storms hit the region Sunday, state-mandated water conservation alerts remain in place.

New Hanover and Pender Counties currently have active mandatory restrictions, meanwhile, Brunswick County’s alert remains voluntary.

Related: Drought, water shortage puts focus on maxed-out infrastructure in eastern Pender County

In May, the Wilmington region received just .63 inches of rainfall — just 14% of what it normally gets. According to the National Weather Service Wilmington, Sunday’s storm left just .42 inches of rain — nearly as much rain the region got all last month.

Still, it wasn’t enough to ease drought-related water demand issues in the Cape Fear region. The region is still marked as having “moderate drought” conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor’s second-highest classification out of five drought rankings.

Restrictions still in place

New Hanover County — Mandatory restrictions for public water consumers in New Hanover County include staggered irrigation schedules based on even and odd home addresses.

“The rain and somewhat cooler weather helped,” Vaughn Hagerty, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s spokesperson, said Monday. “And we are seeing some results from the community’s efforts to conserve water.”

Calls for voluntary water conservation were not enough to curb use, according to CFPUA’s director, leading the utility to issue a county-wide Stage 1 Water Conservation Advisory alert that went into effect Saturday.

“We’ll need to see a continuation of this more typical weather pattern along with conservation from our customers, however, before we can lift the water-use restrictions,” Hagerty said.

While restrictions are technically mandatory, Hagerty said no fines have been issued as a result of noncompliance. Also, he said he was unaware of any visits or warnings from compliance officers.

CFPUA has not issued fines for noncompliance with its mandatory water restrictions, which went into effect Saturday. (Port City Daily/Courtesy CFPUA)
CFPUA has not issued fines for noncompliance with its mandatory water restrictions, which went into effect Saturday. (Port City Daily/Courtesy CFPUA)

Pender County — In Pender County, Stage 3 Mandatory Water Restrictions remain active. After issuing, then later rescinding water surcharges during Memorial Day weekend, mandatory water restrictions for the Hampstead, Scotts Hill, and southern Rocky Point areas remain in place.

Garden and landscape irrigation must be reduced to “the minimum amount necessary for survival,” according to Pender County’s spokesperson. All nonessential water use is banned.

According to Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilites director, the county has not issued any use-related citations.

Brunswick County — Voluntary restrictions under a Stage 1 Water Alert that focus on limiting irrigation are still in place in Brunswick County.

A majority of nonessential water use can be attributed to irrigation, so the county asks public water users to defer nonessential water use to after sunset, or outside the peak hours of use between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m.

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