Moderate drought pumps water conservation efforts in the Cape Fear

CAPE FEAR REGION, NC (WWAY) — After a dreary 2020, the sun has not been a stranger for the better part of 2021.

Data collected from Wilmington International Airport shows that it’s only rained three-quarters of an inch the month, nearly two inches below average. Since March 1, we’ve only seen a little over four inches of rain, close to five and a half inches below average.

We’ve seen so much of the sun that Southeastern North Carolina is now in a moderate drought and several local agencies are advising residents to conserve water.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in usage, mainly from people watering their lawns. Outdoor irrigation is always our biggest water usage,” Cammie Bellamy said.

Cammie Bellamy, assistant public information officer for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, says they’ve seen a nearly 2.7 million gallon increase in water usage from last year.

She says this year’s conditions are very similar to the spring of 2019 when water restrictions were placed on residents, so if the dry spell continues then it’s possible that either voluntary or mandatory restrictions could be coming soon.

For now, she offers some tips on how to conserve your water, particularly when watering your lawn because irrigation systems make up the bulk of water usage.

“We have a recommended watering schedule that we always recommend that our customers follow and that is no watering your yard on Mondays. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, if your home is an odd number address, for example, 201 Main Street. Then Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays if you have an even address,” Bellamy said.

Brunswick County recommends the same and Pender County says to limit watering your lawns to three to five days per week instead of short periods every day.

We have reached out to Bladen and Columbus Counties as well but have not yet heard back.

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