Severe Drought Expands In Carolinas
Carolinas experiencing among worst drought conditions in southeast
The U.S. Drought Monitor has updated its drought map, which now includes a greatly expanded Stage 2 (Severe) drought region in the Carolinas. The region overlays much of the middle and lower Catawba River basin.
Currently, water use restrictions are only voluntary, though local governments will also be evaluating the situation and possibly start issuing some mandatory restrictions.
According to Duke Energy's lake levels web page, some lakes on the Catawba River were around their target level, while others were down as much as 2.5 feet (Lake Norman) below target elevation.
If the next update of the Low Inflow Protocol (LIP) -- which factors in the U.S. Drought Monitor in deciding its stages -- also moves to Stage 2, there will be mandatory water use restrictions, including regarding lawn watering and car washing.
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation reminds the public that one of the best ways to reduce water consumption in the basin is to reduce electrical use. The generation of electricity by coal, nuclear and natural gas facilities requires significant amounts of cooling water and ultimately comprise the majority of water consumption (net use; not available downstream because of evaporation) in the Catawba River basin.