Quick drought update
Still, a vast improvement over where we were in November and early December, when we approached a 30 or so day supply.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that reservoir levels did not drop during last week's "dry spell." Inflows were still at or near historic lows for most of the week, suggesting that ground water has not been replenished, but they were apparently high enough to meet demand.
All this could change if we have a summer and fall of no rain, as we did last year. That's why now is a good opportunity to be seriously thinking about long term policy changes to make in balancing our supply and demand for water. Word on the street is that the city is getting ready to make some big announcements regarding conservation measures. Let me just say, if you've purchased an ultra-high-efficiency toilet int he past couple of months, make sure you hang on to the receipt. And don't be surprised to see a lot more information and messaging coming from the city about the state of our water supply and the need to conserve.
The first of a two part forum on the drought sponsored by a grass roots group called Women for Wise Growth will be held at the main branch of the public library on Wednesday the 2nd, from 7 - 9 pm. Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, who has controversially called for Durham to tighten its development policy if it wants to maintain access to regional water supplies, is one of the speakers.
And another, as yet unnamed citizens' group, has been meeting and discussing via email a series of initiatives the city should be undertaking to raise awareness about the drought and to encourage reduced use of water as a matter of course and policy. Look for a document from those folks pretty soon.
My own thinking is that is that the Stage III or Stage IV restrictions we've been operting under for the past 6 months or so manage crises. They don't manage growth, or resources, or the city, for that matter. Crisis management is not a substitute for good planning. (In fact, if you're spending most of your time managing crises, it's a
pretty good sign that you haven't done good planning.)
The real question isn't (as Reyn Bowman over at Bull City Mutterings seems to think) whether the reservoirs are filled in April. It's whether they're filled in September. And next September. And the one after that.
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