Greenville Water’s service area is experiencing extremely dry weather and continued drought conditions. Anderson, Oconee, Pickens and Greenville Counties are in severe drought. As part of the Keowee-Toxaway Drought Management Advisory Group, we received an update from officials this week. Precipitation norms are nearly 11 inches below normal. According to information provided by SCDNR State Climatologist Hope Mizzell, some counties in the Upstate have received less than ten percent of normal rainfall throughout the last 60 days.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) estimates that up to 15 inches of rainfall is needed to return to normal conditions. This rain needs to be a slow, soaking rain. As a matter of perspective, Fayetteville NC received 8 inches of rain in 6 hours which resulted in major flooding during Hurricane Matthew. The area received a total of approximately 14 inches over the course of the hurricane.
Unfortunately, NOAA is predicting a less than 15% chance that we will have enough rainfall over the next four months to end the drought. Above normal temperatures and
below normal precipitation will likely persist through January. These conditions intensify the impacts to agriculture, increasing concern regarding forest fires and lowering streamflow and lake levels. In fact, Greenville Water’s Table Rock Watershed is currently enduring the effects of a forest fire that started on Pinnacle Mountain in Pickens County.
As a result of these extreme conditions, we ask that our customers remain steadfast in their efforts to conserve water by minimizing the non-essential use of water. Non-essential uses include watering lawns and washing vehicles. Greenville Water recommends limiting outdoor water use to watering twice a week between the hours of 7pm and 8am for no more than 10 minutes. These recommendations will keep our water levels sufficient during this drought for essential uses, such as drinking, cooking and cleaning. For additional tips on ways that you can help to conserve water, please click here.