Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Brunswick, Leland remind public water customers to keep conserving

Though the majority of Brunswick County is no longer considered to be in the U.S. Drought Monitor's official drought category, demand and dryness are still high.

Non-essential water activities, like watering the lawn, should be curtailed until after sunset Monday under Brunswick County's public water use notice. (Port City Daily/File photo)
Nonessential water activities, like watering the lawn, should be curtailed as Brunswick County’s Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert continues. (Port City Daily/File photo)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Both Brunswick County and Leland are reminding public water customers to continue reducing nonessential use as the county’s Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert remains in place.

The alert, first issued the day after Memorial Day, will remain in effect in August.

Related: Three summers to go before capacity upgrades complete, here’s a look at Brunswick’s water situation

Brunswick County Utilities conservation alert is voluntary. It applies to all public water customers, even customers who purchase water through municipalities in Brunswick County.

No longer a ‘drought’ but demand still high

In June, daily water in Brunswick County demand averaged at 92% of system capacity. Record-breaking demands can be attributed to drought conditions, elevated temperatures, and growth. The U.S. Drought Monitor declared a moderate drought in southeastern North Carolina in late May.

As of this week, nearly all of Brunswick County is no longer in an official drought — the county is considered “abnormally dry” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Water demands are historically highest in July and August, according to Brunswick County Public Utilities Director John Nichols. Demands are expected to start falling off in late August or early September, according to Nichols.

On Friday, Brunswick County Utilities issued an update to remind the public of its conservation alert.

“Based on the ongoing hot weather that tends to elevate water demand, this Water Conservation Alert will remain in effect through the month of July and into August when it will be re-evaluated,” the county update states. “Please continue to use water wisely; your water conservation is having a positive impact.”

Leland issued a similar notice Tuesday, announcing it would extend its declaration of an immediate water shortage into August in accordance with the county’s alert.

Plans are in place to expand water capacity in Brunswick County, with completion expected in April 2022, according to a county update on Tuesday. County estimates in February predicted the Northwest Water Treatment Plant 12 million-gallon-a-day, $47.5 million expansion would reach completion in September 2022.

Conservation tips

Catch up on suggested conservation tips, courtesy the Town of Leland:

  • Address any nonessential needs outside the peak demand hours of 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., preferably waiting until after nightfall.
  • Limit the use of clothes washers and dishwashers. Use disposable and biodegradable dishes when possible.
  • Do not leave faucets running while shaving, brushing teeth, rinsing or preparing food.
  • Keep drinking water in a container in the refrigerator instead of running water from a faucet until it is cool.
  • Bathe using a shower rather than in a bathtub and limit showers to no more than five minutes.
  • 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.
  • Limit vehicle washing and use commercial car washes that recycle water.
  • Inspect and repair all faulty and defective parts of faucets and toilets.
  • Install water-saving showerheads and devices in toilets, such as early closing flappers.
  • Limit the hours you run water-cooled air conditioners.
  • Do not water pavement and impervious surfaces, and do not spray off sidewalks, driveways or patios.
  • Avoid overwatering of yards. One inch of water per week in the summer will keep most types of grass healthy.
  • Install rain shut-off devices on automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Follow the recommended irrigation schedule to even out system demands: odd address numbers – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; even address numbers – Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; and no irrigation on Monday.
  • Keep shrubbery watering at a minimum and outside the peak demand hours. 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 your mower height to a higher setting to retain moisture.

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

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