Rains help, but drought persists in Rowan County
By Mark Wineka
Rains last week restored some of the Yadkin River’s water flow, but drought conditions persist in Rowan County.
Jeff Jones, planning and research manager for Salisbury-Rowan Utilities, closely monitors water supply for the utility, which relies on the Yadkin River.
For the first two weeks of June, flows past Salisbury’s water intake on the river were roughly 500 million gallons a day. But during hot days in the third week, flows dropped sharply to a low of 260 million gallons a day.
Jones said the storms of the past week, including generous rainfall amounts over the weekend, had restored flows to about 580 million gallons Monday.
Still, Rowan County falls in the “extreme drought” classification, the second worst stage of dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The water level above Salisbury’s water intake remains high ó 44 inches above the mark at which the city calls for voluntary conservation measures of its utility customers.
Even so, Salisbury-Rowan Utilities put Level 1 voluntary restrictions in place last Oct. 16 to support Gov. Mike Easley’s call for statewide conservation and to help SRU customers prepare for possibly assisting other communities, if they need water supply assistance.
The drought forecast through August predicts that Rowan County will remain in drought conditions with slight improvement.
Conditions in the western and central Piedmont sections of the state continue to get drier, Jones said.
High Rock Lake’s water level was 4.3 feet below full pond Monday. The lake’s level gradually went down in June and was below historical average levels for the month during most days.