in the span of a week.
In Southern Pines, Andy Scott is more than willing to pitch in when it comes to conserving water. Emergency restrictions in the town mean no watering outside and using very little water inside.
"I think the biggest thing is that it caught us off guard. It became mandatory overnight and we didn't have as much warning as we'd like," he said.
Southern Pines Town Manager Kyle Sonnenberg said Drowning Creek dropped significantly twice without explanation. He said while it is easy to predict how many days of water are left when your supply is a reservoir, he said there is no easy way to forecast the level of a creek.
"Once the water passes our intake, it goes downstream and is not accessible to us, unlike a city like Durham where they have a reservoir and continue to draw out of there," he said.
Town leaders say predictions on water level are often based on historical data. In this case, they have nothing to compare the water to. This is the lowest the creek has been since they first started keeping record in 1939.
The town is now reactivating two old wells to increase its supply by up to 500,000 gallons a day. It is also looking to make a connection with Aberdeen, which is not facing a shortage. In the meantime, geological survey workers are keeping a close watch on Drowning Creek, hoping the flow will measure up.
Not even well users can escape water restrictions. On Tuesday, the village of Pinehurst implemented mandatory restrictions for well users.
Residents who live east of Highway 5 can water between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Residents who live west of Highway 5 can water during the same times on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Chapel Hill and Carrboro officials also announced they are going to stage 2 water restrictions later this month. Watering will only be allowed one day per week.