Monday, November 26, 2007

Drought continues in Southeast, and rural areas' private wells feel the strain

As extreme drought conditions persist in the Southeast, predictions of a dry winter present a grim forecast for parts of Alabama, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Little of the reporting about the problem has mentioned private water supplies, but the drought is putting heavy pressure on wells around Charlotte, N.C., which suffered through its driest summer since 1948, reports The Charlotte Observer.

The biggest problem is with old-fashioned, shallow wells. "Commonly known as 2-inch wells, these typically consist of a 2-inch pipe that goes less than 100 feet down -- about one-third the depth of modern wells," Mark Price reports for the Observer. "Most were drilled prior to the '60s, and they are the least productive and most vulnerable to groundwater changes."

Now, homeowners who depend on those wells are hoping for rain but preparing for the worst. When those wells go dry, homeowners must drill new, deeper wells, Price reports. Homeowners whose wells still work are taking precautions to curb water use in hopes of squeezing more time out of those wells. That includes adding "flow restrictors on faucets" and enforcing "strict rules against car washing, lawn watering and lazy showers," Price writes. (Read more)

According to the latest projections from the National Weather Service, the drought conditions likely will continue in Alabama, the Carolinas and Georgia, but should improve elsewhere over the next few months. The NWS has created the Drought Information Center, which has up-to-date conditions and seasonal outlooks. In the last few hours, Chattanooga, Tenn., has received more than 2 inches of rain, while Rome, Ga., has receive 1 inch, The Weather Channel reports. More rain is predicted for Alabama and Georgia, but it is not expected to offer much relief.

1 comment:

ivarut said...

As of Nov. 26, we've received a little rain -- about two inches -- in the past few days in north central alabama. it's been an intermittent rain, which is good -- it soaks in instead of runs off -- but we're many inches below normal and wells here are drying up, as reported elsewhere.