Here we go again. Much of the state, including York County, is in the first stages of a drought.
York County and 16 other counties in the state recently entered the Stage 1 – or incipient – drought status after weeks of meager rain or no rain at all. That’s the lowest of three levels of drought, and the situation could reverse with a few days of steady rains, but the dry weather is something we can’t ignore.
Rock Hill officials are asking residents to voluntarily conserve water with a variety of common-sense measures, such as limiting lawn watering to no more than two days per week, using car washes that recycle water instead of washing cars at home, and using low-volume drip irrigation instead of sprinklers. If the drought grows worse, the city could move to mandatory water restrictions.
With luck, it won’t come to that, but it would be no big surprise if it did. Residents throughout the state are all too familiar with droughts.
Most of the state experienced a drought that lasted from 2007 to 2009. During the drought’s most severe stages, homeowners had to give up lawn watering and car washing altogether.
We often think of droughts as a summer phenomenon. But in November 2014, the entire Catawba Basin in both North and South Carolina was ranked as being in a Stage 1 drought.
The state was in various stages of drought last year from June to September. What followed, however, was historic flooding that engulfed most of the bottom half of the state and whose effects still are being felt.
We could use some rain now, but please, nothing like that – or like what the unfortunate residents of Louisiana are having to endure.
We tend to think about conserving water only when we need to. But altering a few daily habits can save thousands of gallons of water a year.
Here are a few:
▪ Cut shower times. Even making showers one or two minutes shorter can save hundreds of gallons of water a month.
▪ Run only full loads of laundry or dishes. Again, this can save hundreds of gallons of water each month.
▪ Flush the toilet only when you have to.
▪ Inspect for plumbing leaks and repair them. This often is an unseen water loss.
▪ Turn off the water when brushing teeth or shaving.
▪ Use a broom or leaf blower to clean pavement or decks, not a water hose.
Again, we are only in the lowest stage of drought, and a few good rains could reverse that. But, as our lawns turn brown and our shrubbery droops, we are reminded of droughts past and hope we aren’t in for another long dry spell.