Monday, July 4, 2022

Brunswick County reminds customers to limit nonessential water use as demand rises

As drought conditions persist, Brunswick County asks residents to limit irrigation and nonessential water use while demands increase associated with the July Fourth holiday.

Water utilities throughout the region have implemented water conservation alerts to deal with drought conditions. (Port City Daily photo/File)
Water utilities throughout the region have implemented water conservation alerts to deal with drought conditions. (Port City Daily photo/File)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Water demands in Brunswick County are on the rise as July Fourth approaches. This past weekend, demand exceeded 90% of the county’s overall production and distribution capacity.

Brunswick County Utilities is reminding its customers that its Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert is still in effect and that conservation activity can impact overall usage.

Related: The system providing water for 350,000 people hit its limit in May. Now, new protocols are coming

In May, over Memorial Day Weekend, demand climbed as high as 95.7% of capacity, breaking the utility system’s previous record of 87.4% of capacity, set in on July 10, 2015.

A portion of southern Brunswick County is currently considered “abnormally dry,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A majority of the county is ranked one classification tier higher, as being under a “moderate drought.”

Limit nonessential use, irrigation

Brunswick County asks all public water consumers to adjust their water use habits, specifically limiting nonessential use. Irrigation activity represents the bulk of nonessential water use, according to a recent county release, and can be limited by adopting the county’s suggested protocol (which can be viewed at the bottom of this article).

Residents of the county that use private wells are not included in the Stage 1 Conservation Alert, which first went into effect on May 28.

The alert does apply to unincorporated county water customers and its wholesale customers, which includes: Boiling Spring Lakes, Bolivia, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Caswell Beach, Sandy Creek, St. James, Sunset Beach, and Varnamtown. Customers of other utilities such as Bald Head Island, H2GO, Holden Beach, Leland, Navassa, Northwest, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Shallotte, and Southport.

Related: With no mandatory restrictions, Brunswick water system pushed near full capacity

Read through Brunswick County’s list of suggested conservation activities below:

  • Use the following recommended irrigation schedule to even out system demands
    • Odd address numbers – Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday
    • Even address numbers – Wednesday/Friday/Sunday
    • No irrigation on Mondays
  • Defer all non-essential water use to outside the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; preferably after nightfall.
  • Don’t overwater your yard. One inch of water per week in the summer will keep most types of grass healthy. To determine how long you need to run your sprinkler to provide 1” of water, place straight edged cans at different distances from your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of 1” of water in each can. Water occasionally, but deeply to encourage deeper rooting that makes grass more drought/heat tolerant.
  • Install rain shut-off devices on automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Don’t water pavement and impervious surfaces.
  • Limit lawn watering to that necessary for plant survival. Water lawns outside of the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; preferably after nightfall.
  • Water shrubbery the minimum required. Water shrubbery outside of the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Use drip irrigation systems in shrubbery beds and around trees to prevent water loss through evaporation.
  • Use abundant mulch around trees and shrubs to retain moisture.
  • Plant drought-tolerant grasses, trees, and plants.
  • Adjust mower height to a higher setting to retain moisture.
  • Limit the use of clothes washers and dishwashers and when used, operate fully loaded. Operate dishwashers outside of the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; preferably after nightfall.
  • Limit vehicle washing to a minimum. Use commercial car washes that recycle water.
  • Use shower for bathing rather than bathtub and limit shower to no more than five (5) minutes.
  • Inspect and repair all faulty and defective parts of faucets and toilets. Pay attention to dripping sounds.
  • Do not leave faucets running while shaving, brushing teeth, rinsing or preparing food.
  • Do not wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, driveways, patios, etc.
  • Install water-saving showerheads and other water conservation devices.
  • Install water-saving devices in toilets such as early closing flappers.
  • Limit hours of water-cooled air conditioners.
  • Keep drinking water in a container in the refrigerator instead of running water from a faucet until it is cool.
  • Do not fill new (or empty) swimming or wading pools. Top off existing swimming pools from dusk until dawn.
  • Cover pool and spas when not in use to prevent evaporation.
  • Use disposable and biodegradable dishes where possible.

Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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