12/26/07 — Rain welcomed

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Rain welcomed

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 26, 2007 1:57 PM

From Staff Reports

The clouds began rolling over Wayne County late Christmas Day, and by 10 a.m. this morning, the National Weather Service was reporting between 2.25 and 2.5 inches of rain, with more precipitation expected.

Currently, Wayne County, like much of the rest of the state, is in the exceptional drought category -- the worst on the state Division of Water Resources' scale.

Fortunately, though, Goldsboro may have enough water for a few months longer than city officials expected.

Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear spoke last week with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and they told her that the water available now may last the city longer than expected -- possibly through March and into April.

"They are doing more number crunching now," she said. "See this is new. This is the drought of record. Nobody has ever seen it like this before, so they are doing the best they can with what they have to estimate where we will be in a few months. The estimates are moving around a little bit, but it's a new thing that they have never dealt with before."

At this point, she added that the length of water availability will come from a few things, but it is mostly dependent on rainfall, so today's definitely helps.

But it is more helpful if it is over Raleigh and Falls Lake.

The Neuse River, which is where Goldsboro get its water, is fed by Falls Lake, and the more water that there is to release from the Falls Lake Dam, the better for Goldsboro.

That region, though, had received only about 0.5 inches of rain through this morning, though slightly more also was expected.

Raleigh is approximately nine inches of rain behind normal. Goldsboro and Wayne County are between nine and 13 inches. T

So what happens if the city does run out of water?

It can buy up to 3.5 million gallons of water per day from Fork Township and Wayne Water District, Mrs. Brashear said.

Still, that is at least 1.5 million gallons less than city residents use daily.

So conservation is still a top priority.

"We had better continue to conserve now," Mrs. Brashear said. "It will benefit us in the future."