Easley on worsening drought...from his office this afternoon.
" Gov. Mike Easley today directed the state divisions of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, Water Resources and Environmental Health to partner with the N.C. League of Municipalities to organize regional meetings in communities hardest hit by the drought to discuss water conservation and strategies for identifying supplemental water sources. The collaborative effort was announced as exceptional drought, the worst level in the four-category system, spread to more than half of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
“Many communities are suffering the effects of one of the worst droughts we have ever seen,” Easley said. “At least one community is already hauling water by truck from other sources and several other towns may need to seek supplemental water sources soon. With no end to this drought in sight, regional cooperation is needed to make sure all North Carolinians will have ample water for everyday needs such as drinking, public health and safety.”
Thursday’s federal drought map shows that exceptional drought has spread from the eight westernmost counties to 55 counties in the mountains and Piedmont and now stretches from the foothills and Charlotte to parts of the Triad, the Triangle and the Sandhills. North Carolina’s other 45 counties are experiencing the next three levels of drought – extreme, severe and moderate. An extreme lack of rainfall has left many stream flows faced with all-time record lows and reservoirs far below average for this time of year.
The governor has called on all North Carolina residents to conserve water and for operators of public water supplies to implement water use restrictions. Many communities are reporting significant declines in water usage, thanks to the governor’s directive. Currently, 83 public water systems have enacted mandatory water use restrictions and another 80 have enacted voluntary restrictions. That means that 4.76 million people, or about 70 percent of the state’s population in the systems tracked by the state, are under some form of water conservation."