Keep Stage 3 restrictions

Even with recent rains, Rock Hill city officials have decided to play it safe regarding drought restrictions. We think they made the right choice.

City officials announced last week that the Stage 3 restrictions would remain in place for at least three more months. And, unless more rains erase most of the water deficit created by the drought last year, the city might consider even more severe steps, such as water rationing, this summer.

Rock Hill utilities officials not that while lakes are back to normal levels, that is due in large part to a 30 percent drop in water usage because of restrictions. Other indicators, such as streamflow and the U.S. Drought Monitor, show the area still is somewhere between a Stage 3 and Stage 4 drought.

Predictions of a dry spring and summer ahead make the situation even more glum. Some believe the area might be going into heavy drought this summer much faster than last summer.

Above average rainfall for the next three months would be required to significantly improve conditions so that the city could drop back to Stage 2 restrictions and allow some watering. And, with luck, that could happen.

But any idea of loosening restrictions now, just as below-average rainfall is predicted, would be foolhardy. Residents don't want to squander the water supply now and face a shortage of the water for basic needs this summer.

And, barring a deluge in the near future, we need to embrace water conservation as a way of life for months -- and maybe years -- to come.