Ahoskie declares water emergency

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2007

AHOSKIE – Despite a bit of wet relief earlier this week, abnormally dry conditions remain for much of northeastern North Carolina.

That extended period of drought has prompted Ahoskie officials to declare a water emergency, thus asking its citizens to voluntarily cut back on usage.

During their meeting here on Tuesday, members of the Ahoskie Town Council approved a resolution that calls for voluntary regulations and restrictions.

“The overall lack of rain has led to lower water tables,” Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond said. “If we don’t ask for voluntary help now, we may be forced to mandate action in the near future.”

Hammond stressed that the current action undertaken by the town is not at the point where the watering of plants and gardens or washing vehicles is prohibited. The voluntary measures are just a means by where the citizens can use simple conservation practices that will help ease the strain on the town’s water system.

As it was stated in the resolution, priority for water usage is given to human consumption, domestic use, sanitation and fire protection. However, due to the prolonged period of below normal rainfall amounts, those priority uses may become jeopardized without certain regulations and/or restrictions.

Therefore, the town has declared a water shortage emergency for the period of July 1 through Oct. 31.

Following Town Code (Section 70), Ahoskie officials have determined that the public benefit requires voluntary conservation measures. Listed below are a few of the conservation measures citizens can use:

Take a five-minute shower instead of a bath.

Do not let water run while shaving, brushing teeth and rinsing dishes.

Only run dishwashers or clothes washing machines with full loads. Washing dishes by hand saves about 25 gallons.

Install water-saving devices on toilets and showers.

Do not allow children to play with water hoses or sprinklers.

Limit lawn and outside plant watering; then only at night (5 p.m. to 12 midnight to help avoid evaporation loss) and only three times per week.

Consider delaying or sodding of new lawns.

Use a broom instead of water to clean sidewalks, patios or driveways.

Do not fill empty swimming or wading pools.

Install automatic shutoff devices on sprinklers or use an alarm clock or other timing device to shutoff hose-fed sprinklers. Also, position sprinklers to water lawns to avoid water being sprayed on pavement.

Limit the number of toilet flushes when possible.

Inspect and repair leaky valves on faucets and toilets.

While waiting for water to become hot, catch water from a sink or tub faucet and use for animals to drink or to water plants.

Hammond said a water conservation flyer will be sent out with the town’s July water bills.