Water-use restrictions to be lifted today Officials still urge conservation

It's all right to resume conservative outdoor water usage today, a Rock Hill city spokesman said Sunday, but the word 'conservative' is key due to the drought.

When two Rock Hill Water Treatment Plant pumps broke last week, the city issued mandatory outdoor water restrictions for its 55,000 customers in greater Rock Hill and indirectly for the town of Fort Mill and several communities in northern and western York County that buy city water.

City spokeswoman Lyn Garris on Sunday said the pumps have been fixed.

"It's OK to return to normal water usage, but we are asking people to do it slowly," she said. "We are in a Level 1 drought with no rain on the horizon. It's not inconceivable that we may have to impose mandatory water restrictions before the drought is over."

There is a possibility of some rain late Friday or early Saturday when a weak cold front is expected to move through, said Larry Gabric, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Greenville.

Until then, it will be hot and dry. Temperatures are forecast to reach 100 degrees or close to it through Thursday. The lows at 5 to 6 a.m. are expected to be in the lower 70s.

"Normal highs are near 90 degrees this time of year," Gabric said. "The front will lower temperatures to a more seasonable level for next weekend."

July rainfall was 2.04 inches, 1.75 inches below the normal 3.79 inches for July, he added.

"The high temperatures will cause evaporation, so things will get increasingly dryer," Gabric said. "The prospects for any meaningful rain is less that 20 percent each day through Thursday."

Lake Wylie's level was at 94.8 percent at 6 p.m. Sunday, according to the Duke Energy Web site. The target level is 97 percent. Duke has been limiting its release of water in order to conserve energy, the Web site indicated.

Droughts can range from Level 1 to 4, with 4 being the worst. Garris points out a Level 1 drought "is nothing to sneeze at."

"We are just asking people to be conservative in their water usage," she said.

July 2007 rainfall: 2.04 inches

Normal July average rainfall: 3.79 inches

2007 rainfall to date: 19.88 inches

Normal rainfall to date average: 26.36 inches