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Drought Watch Advisory Issued

PRINCE EDWARD – In a move that underscores just how dry the summer of 2012 has been, County supervisors at a special called meeting Wednesday approved a “drought watch advisory.”

In accordance with the County's drought response and contingency plan, County Administrator Wade Bartlett cited, there are certain triggers for the declaration of either a drought watch, drought warning or drought emergency.

A County press release highlighted that three of four drought indicators have been met: precipitation is more than ten inches below normal for the year; the flow of the Appomattox River has been consistently below the 25th percentile (and, for several days below the 10th percentile); and ground water levels-as measured at the state monitoring well in neighboring Buckingham County-were at 27.44 feet or between the 10th and 25th percentile.

“…It only takes two triggers to issue a drought watch, but we've had three,” Bartlett told the board.

The advisory carries no mandates, but rather the board strongly encourages “all citizens, those on wells and those on public community water systems, to minimize nonessential water use and to voluntarily conserve water.” The County's action covers areas outside of the area served by the Town.

While the board's discussion on water was mostly restricted to the drought watch declaration and consideration and approval of the Town's temporary use of Mottley Lake as a water supply, there was also some thought to the long-term water needs.

Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones, who offered that he agreed with the temporary permit to help the Town (see related story, page one), said he was hopeful “that maybe this will open up talks again about creating a water authority and not having to deal with these temporary fixes.”