Duke Energy: Limit irrigation if using water from lakes

To lessen the impact of drought, Duke Energy is asking everyone who uses water from area lakes for irrigation to voluntarily limit watering to Tuesdays and Saturdays.

“Despite recent rainfall, the region continues to experience dry conditions,” Joe Hall, Duke’s lake services director, said Tuesday. “We want to thank residents for supporting water conservation efforts and ask everyone withdrawing water for irrigation from one of the 11 Catawba-Wateree lakes to limit watering to the two designated days per week.”

Duke’s request comes as part of a collective effort by the company, municipal water suppliers and state and federal agencies to preserve the region’s water supply amid the drought.

The Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group recently announced Stage 1 conditions of a regional drought protocol.

If reservoir storage and streamflow continue to fall, the area could move to the second of the five stages, and water conservation steps will become mandatory.

The Catawba-Wateree River Basin extends from the headwaters of the Catawba on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain, near Blowing Rock, to Lake Marion near Columbia. The Catawba provides drinking water for at least 800,000 people and delivers 99 million gallons of water daily.

Residents from Charlotte to Winston-Salem were recently asked to voluntarily conserve water, including limiting car washing and watering grass.

Duke Energy, which manages the chain of lakes under federal license, also has increased surveillance of its public boating access areas. So far, two of the four boat ramps at the Allison Creek Access Area on Lake Wylie have been closed because of lower lake levels.

Residents can monitor levels of the basin’s lakes at www.duke-energy.com/lakes.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak