If the fall weather has you thinking the drought in North Carolina has run its course, think again. Here in the Triangle, we are now officially approaching what any sane person would call "dire straits." The NC Conservation Network has a good report out today:
North Carolina is in the midst of a serious drought with over 56.6% of the state classified as exceptional drought—the worst level there is. Making small changes in your daily water consumption can help but there are other things our state can be doing to better prepare for water shortages. We are urging state leaders to:
1. Set statewide water use efficiency standards,
2. Require local governments to consider water availability before approving new development; and
3. Replace our outdated water rules with a comprehensive law that meets the state’s current needs.
In addition, the Network offers this friendly advice, just in case you need a reminder:
1. Get a rain barrel: You'll be amazed how fast a 60 gallon rain barrel fills up. Use it for your lawn, garden, and all of your outside watering needs.
2. Fix leaky faucets: A dripping faucet can waste 3,600 galls of water a year! Replace old gaskets and install faucet aerators to cut down on water use.
3. Take shorter showers: Showers use 5 to 8 gallons of water per minute. Cutting your shower time by 2 minutes means at least 3,000 gallons over water saving over a year.
4. Use the dishwasher wisely: Always run a full load of dishes in the dishwasher and scrape plates instead of rinsing before putting them in to wash.
5. Check your toilet: The top water consumer in a typical home is the toilet. Check for leaks by dropping food coloring in the upper tank. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak. You can also install a water filled plastic bottle in your tank to reduce water use.
The N&O also has a "down-date" on the level of Falls Lake:
RALEIGH - The drought gripping North Carolina has pushed Falls Lake, the source of drinking water for Raleigh and several surrounding towns, to record low levels. The Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains Falls Lake, reports that the lake's elevation dipped to 242.62 feet today, or .16 feet below the previous low on Nov. 27, 1993, according to Raleigh officials. The water supply storage pool in the lake is at 31 percent of capacity, city officials report, which is about a 110-day supply, assuming current demand and no rain.