Johnston Co. officials issue water shortage advisory

Running water (AP)

June 28, 2010 9:25:16 PM PDT
Johnston County issued a water shortage advisory Monday and asked its customers to limit their water use.

Although the conservation effort is voluntary, officials hope to eliminate waste of water. The county is experiencing a high water demand and is limited by Johnston County's water distribution system.

Johnston County's water treatment plant can process 12 million gallons of water a day, but on Saturday, 23,000 customers used a record level 13 million gallons.

Fortunately, Johnston County was able to purchase water from other nearby communities.

Officials say if water demand outstrips capacity, water towers will run dry and trigger a boil water rule in which customers would have to heat water before using it.

"If we can't meet the demands, then we get into a problem, particularly with industries, hospitals, and those types of things," said Lu Hickey, a Johnson County water official.

The situation raises questions about the county's planning models, but county officials say expanded pipes will come online next year to prevent that kind of situation.

"If you can hold off watering your yard, if you can hold off washing your car, that would really help, because this is not going to go away over night," Hickey said.

Johnston County is only asking residents to use less water. Nothing is mandatory yet.

Under the advisory, only Class 3 non-essential water use is not permitted.

Class 3, Nonessential uses of water:

  • Ornamental purposes: Fountains, reflecting pools, and artificial waterfalls.
  • Outdoor noncommercial watering, private impervious surface washing, watering, or irrigation: gardens, lawns, golf courses, parks, playing fields, and other recreational areas.
    EXCEPTIONS:
    • Agricultural irrigation for the production of food, feed, fiber, or fuel and the maintenance of livestock. oWater used by commercial nurseries at a minimum level necessary to maintain stock to the extent other sources of water (other than JCDPU) are not available or feasible to use.
    • Water used by golf courses at a minimum level as necessary to maintain tees and greens to the extent other sources of water (other than JCDPU) are not available or feasible to use.
    • Use of JCDPU water at a minimum rate necessary to implement revegetation following earthmoving, where such vegetation is required pursuant to an erosion and sedimentation control plan adopted pursuant to law or regulation (to the extent that sources of water other than JCDPU are not available or feasible to use).
    • Water used by public gardens of national, state, or regional significance where necessary to preserve specimens, to the extent sources other than JCDPU are not available or feasible to use.

  • Operating and filling of public swimming pools:
    EXCEPTIONS:
    • Health care facility pools used for patient care and rehabilitation and municipal pools.
    • Washing of motor vehicles: Automobiles, trucks, boats and trailers.
      EXCEPTIONS: Commercial car and truck washes.
    • Serving water in restaurants, clubs, or eating establishments:
      EXCEPTIONS: Specific requests by customers.
    • Fire hydrants: Any purpose including the use of sprinkler system tests, testing of fire equipment, and fire department drills.
      EXCEPTIONS: Firefighting.
    • Health protection purposes if specifically approved by the health officials of the county.
    • Testing and drills by fire departments, if in the interest of imminent public safety and approved by JCDPU.
    • Hydrant and sanitary sewer flushing:
      EXCEPTIONS: As needed to ensure public safety and health with the approval of JCDPU.

    If you have other concerns about the advisory, please call Johnston County Public Utilities at 989-5075.

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