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October 24, 2007

Governor, DNR urge voluntary water conservation

As the severe drought lingers, Gov. Mark Sanford is encouraging all South Carolinians to voluntarily conserve water, "As this situation continues, we believe it's incredibly important for all South Carolinians to take individual initiative in doing what they can to conserve water. We think theseDry soybean field conservation recommendations from DNR are a good step toward that end, and would urge citizens to do what they can at home or at work to impact their own water usage."

State and local representatives from the South Carolina Drought Response Committee upgraded the drought level to severe for all counties except Beaufort and Jasper on Sept. 5.  Drought conditions have continued to deteriorate with significant impacts to most of the streams, lakes, and groundwater. According to the SC Department of Natural Resources’ Hydrology Office, 14 of the 17 monitored streams are now at the extreme drought level. Some lakes have declined to levels lower than during the 1998-2002 drought. Over most of the state, rainfall during all months this year except June has been below normal, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ State Climatology Office. The deficit is as much as 16 inches in some locations, while many areas experienced the driest ever July to September. 

This week’s forecast calls for a widespread rain event, however, it will only provide temporary relief, according to state climatologist Hope Mizzell. "We need many months of normal to above normal rainfall and unfortunately that is not expected. National forecasters are predicting a drier than normal fall and winter due to the developing La Nina." 

With little relief on the horizon, Mizzell urges South Carolinians to now begin voluntary conservation measures. "All water users from the local water systems to the individual homeowner are encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. If we all work together now, we can hopefully avoid more stringent restrictions if the drought does continue." 

Contact State Climatologist Hope Mizzell at (803) 734-9568 in Columbia for more information about the ongoing drought.

DNR offers these tips for water conservation in and around your home.

CONSERVE WATER IN THE HOUSE:

CONSERVE WATER OUTSIDE THE HOUSE:

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.