ARE YOU PREPARED?
Drought conditions throughout the State of Alabama are much better than during the historical drought of 2007, but now is not the time to let down your guard.
In recent months, drought conditions forced a parent system in Northwest Alabama to restrict the amount of water its consecutive systems could receive, causing an emergency to be declared in that area. As water system operators and managers, it is our duty to remain ever vigilant in order to protect our precious commodity during times of possible emergency. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you do just that.
Remember that information is a powerful tool when it comes to predicting and responding to dry weather emergencies.
- Operators should perform monthly draw-down tests at each well in order to track changes in your water table.
- Daily pump run-times should be monitored in an effort to track customer demand, especially during the dryer times. This information will be invaluable in detecting critical changes in your normal operating environment and could prevent supply shortages and tens of thousands of dollars in equipment failures.
- Remember to update your Emergency Water Conservation Plan. This plan will establish procedures to follow during drought emergencies. Should you need help creating, updating, or implementing an Emergency Water Conservation Plan, remember that your Alabama Rural Water Association Circuit Rider has the templates and the experience to assist you.
Public education should also be a major component in any well managed water system's water conservation efforts. An informed public is more likely to conserve resources, and will be more aware of unnecessary wastes, such as leaking toilets and faucets. The California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) has an interactive website (http://www.h2ouse.org/) in which your customers can take an interactive tour of a house plan with water saving tips for every area of a house!
Hopefully, with the increase in rainfall we've been experiencing, droughts will soon no longer plague our great state. But until then, your diligent research, meticulously compiled records, and army of informed customers will help insure that you can avoid disaster and confidently move forward with every water system's goal of providing a constant and plentiful supply of clean and safe drinking water.
Appeared in Waterline, Summer 2012
For the latest information on drought in the US, go to drought.gov.
This is a national site that tries to consolidate all available information on drought.
Quick Link to Alabama-specific drought information at drought.gov
Additional Alabama-specific links include:
Alabama Office of Water Resources (OWR) Web Site contains links to Alabama Drought Planning
Alabama Drought Emergency Relief Effort - Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Alabama Power Reservoir Status - Provided by Alabama Power
Streamflow Level Percentiles - Provided by USGS
Please provide updated information to the ARWA regarding your current drought situation. Many Conservation Plans have been implemented but maintaining which stage systems are enforcing is critical to State Agencies reporting to the Governor’s Office.