FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Hot weather and a lack of rain have South Carolina experiencing a statewide drought.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has declared Fairfield County meets the conditions of a moderate drought, and the effects are beginning to be felt county-wide, but so far, impact has been minor.
“Our wells are still holding out,” said Hubert Rentz, manager for Mid County Water Co. “They’re pumping more hours, because of no rain.”
Rentz said normally, wells pump for five to six hours, but lately have needed to pump for eight to nine hours. He added the drought has been relatively minor, especially compared to the dry weather experienced in 1999 and 2000.
At the most recent Winnsboro Town Council meeting, Mayor Roger Gaddy read a proclamation of moderate drought and encouraged Town of Winnsboro water customers to conserve water.
According to Winnsboro Town Manager Don Wood, while Winnsboro’s reservoir is roughly 90 percent full, the drought proclamation and encouragement to conserve are important messages.
“It means a lot to us, just at this point in time, we have adequate water,” Wood said. “We still want people to conserve.”
Wood said the Town of Winnsboro also will begin to pump water from the Sand River Pump Station to supplement water supply.
“That is another water withdrawal point,” Wood said.
Rentz seconded the desire to see conservation efforts.
“It’s on our bill to conserve water,” Rentz said. “You just try to plant that seed.”
Jenkinsville Water Company President Greg Ginyard agreed conservation is prudent, even if water supplies are sufficient.
“Over here in Jenkinsville, we’re going to be fine,” Ginyard said. “It’s the wrong time to be wasteful. Any time you’ve got a drought going on, it’s the wrong time to be wasteful.”
Wood added, if people conserve water now, while water use reduction is voluntary, it could help to avoid more stringent, mandatory water conservation.
Suggested water use reduction methods included reducing water usage to 65 gallons per day per person with a maximum usage of 200 gallons per household per day and eliminating the washing of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and tennis courts.
Consumers can also eliminate washing buildings for reasons other than immediate fire protection, eliminate the flushing of gutters, washing vehicles and to maintain decorative bodies of water.
Consumers can also reduce the amount of used for lawn and garden maintenance and reduce water obtained from fire hydrants for reasons other than necessary flushing or firefighting.
Reach Ben Hohenstatt at 803-635-4016. Follow him on Twitter @WinnsboroHerald.