Some drought updates
Days of Supply
Using the 30-day running average demand as of February 24, 2008 of 19.82 MGD:
* Days of supply of easily accessible, premium water remaining (Lake Michie, Little River Reservoir): 161 days
* Days in Teer Quarry storage remaining: 19 days
* Days of less accessible water below the intake structures remaining: 61 days
* Total days of supply = 241
I'm still not a big fan of using the "less accessible water" number in calculating the total days of supply. Let's face it, if we get to the point where we're using the "less accessible water" we're in a lot of trouble.
Lake Michie is now only 3' 4" away from being "full." I put full in quotes because it's actually gone a bit higher without flooding in the past. It's still below where it's been in all but two of the past ten years for the end of February. Current inflows following the precipitation of the past few days are higher than demand, so Lake Michie could be very close to capacity by the end of the week. Michael asked a few days ago whether water could be pumped from Lake Michie to Little River if it tops out. Little River is well below capacity, and capturing more of that water from Lake Michie would make sense. I haven't seen anyone asnwer that question, though.
I'm also assuming that the Eno is flowing high enough that the city is able to take its full allotment of 5 million gallons per day to store in the Teer reservoir. Teer theoretically holds about 30 days supply, so there's more room there as well.
Bad news is there's not a lot of rain in the forecast for the next 10 days. Demand through February has, except for a couple of spikes, remained fairly constant at about 21 and a half mgd. That's about a 13% reduction from February 07. And that's the really troublesome figure.
There's two items relating to this that i've seen recently, but with as busy as i've been this week, i'm going to put htem out there without links until i get a chance to go back and source them. One is from a City Council meeting a couple of weeks ago, that i think BCR covered, in which it emerged that Durham's Jordan Lake allocation may not be as rock solid as people were anticipating, especially if the drought persists through the summer and Cary is more affected than it has been. I've said in the past that i think it's a mistake to figure on the 2-4 mgd that we're currently drawing from Jordan in our total supply figure for that specific reason. Hopefully it won't come to that. But if you spend any time looking at the history of water rights battles in regions where water is traditionally a scarce resource, you can make the reasonable assumption that things will not go any differently here should we reach that scenario.
The second item was in the paper over the past couple of days. And it had to do with, i think, the mayor of Carrboro opposing any additional intakes from Jordan Lake from Durham until the city and county revisit some of our development policies. This is a potentially major event,as it shows where fault lines could develop among local governments in the event that the drought does continue. As we've pointed out several times, the drought is at least as much a function of demand as of supply. Our water supply is not that much lower than it's been at times over the past 50 years. But our demand is much higher. Durham County commissioners are on the ballot later this year. I imagine this will be a local hot button issue.