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Winston-Salem officials urge cuts in water use as Yadkin River supplies drop

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) ó Utilities officials in Winston-Salem are urging residents and businesses to voluntarily cut water use because the river that supplies the area is running low, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Water flow in the Yadkin River is approaching levels not seen since the 2002 drought, the Winston-Salem Journal reported Wednesday.
The Yadkin River supplies 80 percent of the water for Forsyth County and the city of Winston-Salem.
Ron Hargrove, deputy director of the City-County Utilities Division, said the river’s flow this month has been one-third of normal.
“We may ask folks to do more,” Hargrove said. “We have never implemented mandatory restrictions, and I have been here 15 years.”
Hargrove said the river flow in July measured 553 cubic feet a second. The normal flow is 1,659 cubic feet a second.
The river’s flow on Tuesday was just 270 cubic feet a second.
Hargrove said storms that sweep the area don’t add enough water to ground supplies to keep up the river’s level.
People are being asked to limit watering of lawns and plants to no more than an hour a day and to avoid watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Residents also are asked to repair leaky faucets, use water sparingly when shaving and washing and run washing machines and dishwashers only with full loads.
The U.S. Drought Monitor says Forsyth County is among 14 counties in North Carolina in extreme drought, the second highest level of drought intensity.
Ninety-four of the state’s 100 counties are in a drought.
Voluntary restrictions imposed during last summer’s drought were lifted in April. The county also stores water in the W. Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkes County. Water levels there are 1 1/2 feet below full and the county can ask that water be released to increase the river’s flow.

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