Hampstead planter warned about dry conditions prior to water shortage emergency


PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Utilities Department has restricted water use such as irrigating lawns and asks neighbors to conserve water. This is due to an ongoing water shortage emergency in parts of southeastern Pender County.

The notice of a shortage and boil water advisory were issued Sunday evening. These restrictions came with a surcharge for customers in the impacted area. The surcharge of 1.5 times the normal water consumption is a form of policing for the county utilities department.

- Advertisement -

“If we have to, we will lock up irrigation meters,” said utilities director Kenny Keel.

The county has issued a stage 3 water shortage emergency targeting irrigation. Keel said the need to water lawns left the county below state mandated water levels over the weekend.

“The actual tank that you see up in the air there was no water in it. That’s how low it got,” Keel said.

However, the shortage and restrictions could not have come at a worse time with it being the unofficial start of the summer. Keel said because of the timeliness, the county will hold off on charging customers extra.

“Because of the situation, it happened so suddenly and we didn’t have a whole lot of warning for our citizens,” Keel said. “We weren’t really expecting that we would have to go to that level. We decided to, our board decided to forgo that additional charge.”

The water shortage may have been unexpected, but the drought-like conditions were something neighbors like Joel Carpenter have sounded the alarm about for weeks now.

“I sort of foresaw this coming in again the beginning of April the rains sort of slacked off and stopped,” said Carpenter who is a certified plant specialist that runs his own land and landscaping business.

The Annandale Lawn and Landscape owner has had to stop all business practices related to watering or deep planting because of these dry conditions.

“I just felt that it was irresponsible to carry on and expecting people, the homeowner to carry the slack,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter is not alone, he says the Transplanted Garden also alerted growers and planters to the unpleasant conditions.

“So long as soil temperatures are soaring, we’re looking at August like conditions and we’re not even into June yet,” Carpenter said. “Each day counts now. We’re getting to a point where everyday counts.”