Catawba-Wateree basin improves to drought watch | Environment
CATAWBA COUNTY (The Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group) - The Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group (CW-DMAG) today announced the Catawba-Wateree Basin is starting the new year with an improved drought condition.
The 4,750 square-mile Basin has improved to Stage 0 drought level of the Low Inflow Protocol (LIP) compared to Stage 1 during the fall of 2011. Local water suppliers will provide additional guidance on actions for their jurisdictions as appropriate.
The LIP is the regional drought management plan major water users in the Basin use to share responsibility and set priorities to conserve the limited water supply during periods of low inflow. Stage 0 is the first of five drought stages outlined in the LIP and is a drought watch stage alerting the CW-DMAG members to monitor conditions closely and, if conditions worsen, review possible coordinated actions.
“Overall, the Basin has improved. However, the northern half of the Basin has received more precipitation on a regular basis, while the southern half has progressed more slowly out of drought conditions,” said Ed Bruce, Duke Energy, CW-DMAG coordinator.
Although lake levels have dropped some recently due to normal winter draw downs, stream flows feeding the lakes have been improving steadily through the fall. The Basin has not experienced even lower lake levels primarily due to the management of water resources through the LIP and the improving supply from the Basin’s streams.
“These improving conditions during the winter months are especially helpful,” said Mike Bailes, Catawba River Water Treatment Plant. “If rainfall continues or improves in the coming months, the ability to manage the water supply through next summer’s heat and evaporation will be greatly improved from how we entered 2011. Continued prudent water use in homes, yards, schools and businesses will help too.”
Most recently, CW-DMAG members have been monitoring conditions since the Basin entered a Stage 0 drought watch in August 2010 and Stage 1 in October of that year. According to the process established by the LIP, members receive regular updates and meet at least monthly until conditions return to normal. To learn more about the Catawba-Wateree Basin, local restrictions, and water saving tips, go to www.saveyourwater.org, a website provided by the Catawba-Wateree Water Management Group. For more information about the CW-DMAG and the LIP, visit www.duke-energy.com/lakes/cwdmag.asp.