Published On: Fri, Oct 21st, 2016

Chief Lambert declares Water Shortage Advisory

 

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

As the drought conditions continue throughout western North Carolina, water conservation methods are being mandated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  Principal Chief Patrick Lambert issued an official Water Shortage Advisory on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

“Due to the lack of precipitation we have received, water tables are significantly lower than normal for our area,” Chief Lambert wrote in his advisory proclamation.  “The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook is predicting prolonged and increased drought conditions through the end of the year.  The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians supplies water to several hundred customers located on and off tribal lands.  The Cherokee City Water System (Cherokee, Rough Branch, Snowbird) has a goal of reducing use on the system by 3-5 percent to adjust to the limited water conditions.”

The outward visibility of rocks in the Oconaluftee River show the severity of the drought in Cherokee as evidenced in this photo taken on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 20 near Saunooke Village. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

WATER NEEDED: The outward visibility of rocks in the Oconaluftee River show the severity of the drought in Cherokee as evidenced in this photo taken on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 20 near Saunooke Village. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

According to the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council, most of western North Carolina is in some state of drought as of its latest report on Thursday, Oct. 20.  Cherokee, Clay, and Macon counties are in extreme drought while nine counties (Buncombe, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, and Transylvania) are in severe drought.  Eleven counties are in moderate drought and five more are considered abnormally dry.

“Due to a lack of precipitation and high temperatures, the surface water level is slowly dropping,” said Sheila Hyatt, Cherokee Water Treatment manager.  “We are at a stage that we would like to encourage residents to voluntarily conserve water.  This will help in maintaining water tank levels, water production and water needed for fire protection.”

Chief Lambert’s Water Shortage Advisory outlines the following restrictions to EBCI Water & Sewer customers:

  1. Limit lawn and garden watering to that which is necessary for plants to survive.
  2. Washing paved surfaces such as streets, roads, sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking areas, and patios will be allowed three (3) days out of a seven (7) day period. An exception will be made when procedures are necessary for sanitation or public health purposes.
  3. Operate clothes washers and dishwashers at maximum efficiency and consider ways to conserve water usage during regular household activities.
  4. Washing or cleaning of mobile equipment such as automobiles, trucks, trailers, and boats will be allowed three (3) days out of a seven (7) day period.

According to information from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), western North Carolina is joined in drought conditions by parts of New England as well as parts of Arizona and around 75 percent of California.

Hyatt related, “Some of the surrounding counties have started issuing water conservation measures due to the predicted future forecast.  Currently, we have a rainfall deficit of -7.70 inches with no significant rainfall amounts forecasted for anytime soon.  Due to this outlook, the probability of increasing water restrictions is most likely.”

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