Beaufort County moved to 'moderate' drought status

June 17, 2011 

  • Although there's no shortage in the water supply, the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority reminded customers Friday to practice conservation with the following tips:

  • Adjust sprinklers so they water lawns instead of houses, sidewalks and streets.

  • Water lawns and plants in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.

  • Check soil moisture two to three inches below surface before watering instead of setting a watering schedule.

  • Direct water from rain gutters and heating and air-conditioner systems toward thirsty plants.

  • Only run washing machines and dishwashers when they are full.

  • Monitor water bills for unusually high costs to help detect leaks.

  • Consider buying appliances that have cycle and load-size adjustments.

  • Reduce shower times.

  • Fix dripping faucets and running toilets.
  • Get breaking news, story updates and alerts about fun things to do in Beaufort County by following Eye on Beaufort County on Twitter.

  • Beaufort County is in a moderate drought that could threaten agriculture and increase the risk of forest fires, the S.C. Drought Response Committee announced Friday.

    The committee increased the severity level of drought conditions in Beaufort, Jasper and 24 other counties from "incipient" to "moderate" to raise awareness about conserving water and preventing wildfires, state climatologist Hope Mizzell said. The committee monitors rainfall, stream flow and lake levels to make its classifications.

    All other counties remained in incipient status, meaning there is a threat of drought because of below-average rainfall, according to a state Department of Natural Resources news release.

    Over the past 30 days, Beaufort County's rainfall has been half its historical average, with only two inches of rain, Mizzell said.

    The committee has asked water systems and suppliers to review their drought-response plans, but so far, there have been few reports of water shortages, Mizzell said.

    "Upgrading the drought status to moderate is mainly to increase awareness and urge everyone to be wise stewards of water," Mizzell said. "We also want them to be aware that forest fire potential is increasing, and it certainly makes a difference when people are cautious about any outdoor burning activities."

    The Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority reported Thursday that its water levels are adequate, but customers should still conserve, a habit that also will save them money. Residents should water lawns and plants in the morning and evening when temperatures are cooler, run washing machines and dishwashers only when they are full, and reduce shower times by a minute or two, according to a news release from the authority.

    Earlier this week the authority asked customers on the sea islands of northern Beaufort County to cut water consumption to maintain optimal water pressure. The area is experiencing higher-than-normal demand because of high temperatures, agricultural activity and an influx of visitors to the resort areas, according to communications manager Matthew Brady.

    After the announcement of the county's moderate drought status, Brady said the authority decided to emphasize water conservation.

    "We're in no danger of running out of water, it's just a good time to remind people to conserve," he said.Statewide, the increase in wildfires has taken a toll on firefighters with the S.C. Forestry Commission. They have responded to more fires in the first two weeks of June than they usually do during the entire month, the DNR news release said.

    The lack of rain and high temperatures are affecting crop production statewide, and irrigation systems can't make up the deficit, the release said.

    The state Drought Response Committee will reconvene in a month, or sooner if needed, to reevaluate drought conditions.

  • The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

    Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service