Johnston County issues water shortage advisory
Posted June 28, 2010 11:02 a.m. EDT
Updated June 28, 2010 10:09 p.m. EDT
Smithfield, N.C. — Johnston County officials issued a water shortage advisory Monday because of unprecedented high water demand and temporary limitations in the county's water distribution system.
The system can produce all the water customers need. However, the pipes that transport the water to residences and businesses are too small to handle recent demands.
"The highest we ever had was 11 million gallons per day. We pumped 13 million gallons per day this weekend. That is the max and we don't have the capability to pump any more than that," county spokesman Pat LaCarter said.
The water surge brought on by high temperatures pushed the distribution system near the breaking point.
"The official high in Raleigh today was 99 degrees after yesterday's 101 ... obviously those temperatures are well above the 30-year average," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said Monday.
In response to the water shortage, officials issued the advisory until the pipes can be replaced with larger ones. The project could cost as much as $7 million and is slated to be completed in May of next year.
The water advisory applies to water customers of Johnston County, including those in the towns of Clayton, Four Oaks, Princeton and Kenly and those served by private utilities Aqua N.C. and Utilities Inc.
While the advisory is in effect, customers are requested to employ voluntary conservation measures to limit water use and eliminate waste of water. Officials said water customers should try to refrain from washing vehicles and outdoor watering during the advisory period.
Dave Johnson, with Carolina Hydroseeding in Raleigh, says homeowners often water too long, particularly during the heat of the day when a lot of water is lost to evaporation.
"We do it 10 or 12 minutes and that is all,” Johnson said.
Fishel said rain is possible later this week and temperatures will be dropping.
"The high temperature Wednesday will be 82 degrees with lows in the 50s," Fishel said.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the water advisory can call Johnston County Public Utilities at 919-989-5075.