Tryon urges continued water conservation

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2008

After ending 2007 with a precipitation deficit of about 23 inches, the local area appeared to be coming out of the extreme drought with near normal rainfall earlier this year.

Then May arrived.

The area received just 2.22 inches of rain in May, according to observations for the National Weather Service in Tryon. June hasn&squo;t been any better. The area has received only about 0.6 inches of rain so far this month.

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Not only has it been dry, but it&squo;s also been exceptionally hot. Record heat has accelerated evaporation and caused drought conditions to rapidly worsen even before summer arrives.

The conditions have led the Town of Tryon to remind residents that the drought has not gone away, and they must continue to conserve water.

Tryon Water Plant Superintendent Betty Jones says the town has not lifted its mandatory water restrictions since they were implemented last August (see drought update by Jones on page 5).

Water usage often picks up in the summer, particularly when the weather is dry, as residents keep lawns and gardens watered. But residents will have to continue to keep watering to a minimum.

Water usage in Tryon has remained roughly between 350,000 and 450,000 gallons per day in recent months, much below what it&squo;s been in the past prior to restrictions and a town program to reduce leaks.

Earlier this year Tryon was listed as one of 13 water systems in North Carolina considered to be nearing a crisis situation with less than 100 days of water supply.

The state has urged those water systems to take immediate steps to increase their water supplies. Tryon is working with Saluda and Columbus, with the held of an emergency water grant, to put in lines that will give Tryon access to water from Hendersonville. Tryon also plans to put in a valve that will allow it to receive water from Columbus, and to make changes to its water plant that will allow Tryon to use its former mountain water source.