10/19/05 — Recent rainfall didn't quench drought worries

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Recent rainfall didn't quench drought worries

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 19, 2005 1:51 PM

For once, a storm might have aided Wayne County residents, but not enough to stop local officials from worrying about looming drought conditions.

Rainfall fueled by Tropical Storm Tammy pulled the county out of drought conditions last week, according to data collected by the National Drought Mitigation Center.

The news did not change city officials stance on water use, however.

Goldsboro Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said water levels at the Neuse River are still decreasing slightly and precautionary measures should remain in place.

"We are still under voluntary conservation conditions," she said.

City Manager Joe Huffman said that even though Wayne County seems to be doing better than other counties, conditions in central North Carolina might take their toll here in Goldsboro.

"Our concern is as drought conditions worsen in Raleigh, they could affect us," Huffman said.

Additionally, Gov. Mike Easley is still asking North Carolinians to be conservative and to minimize non-essential water use, the governor said in a statement released Thursday.

"Despite the recent rainfall, we still have drought and dry conditions throughout portions of central North Carolina," Easley said. "I urge all citizens to conserve water to help prevent a crisis situation during this dry spell."

Mayor Al King announced Oct. 3 that Wayne County was among many North Carolina communities dealing with a serious water shortage problem.

King asked residents to voluntarily conserve water after receiving information from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that water levels at the Neuse River intake were low.

Should the next few weeks bring severely dry weather, conservation measures could take effect again. In 2002, city officials approved the City of Goldsboro Water Shortage Response Ordinance, which outlines detailed procedures for officials and city residents to follow in the event of a drought.

Under these guidelines, when the water level at the Neuse River intake structure reaches a Mean Sea Level of 52 feet, the mayor is informed that voluntary conservation conditions exist.

Once voluntary conservation conditions have been declared by the mayor, city residents are asked to take certain measures to ensure the water supply is not being wasted.