Governor Tim Kaine is urging stepped-up water conservation because of the drought and prospects for a drier-than-normal winter.
Kaine says localities should update water conservation and drought contingency ordinances and prepare to implement them.
He also says citizens and businesses should conserve water regardless of whether local governments have asked them to do so. This includes:
- Minimizing vehicle washing and irrigation,
- Checking for water leaks in the home,
- Limiting showers to less than five minutes,
- Turning off water during teeth-brushing, and
- Operating dishwashers and clothes washers only with full loads.
Kaine says, “These simple actions when performed by millions of citizens throughout the Commonwealth can result in a significant reduction in the stresses placed on our water resources.”
The governor says last week's widespread rainfall addressed short-term water shortages, but the overall precipitation deficit remains. If predictions of a dry winter materialize, the state will be in a significant drought when the growing season begins in the spring.
“The best drought responses are those that take into account the individual nature of water supplies and the users of those resources, and these must be developed at the local water system level,” says Kaine. “We must use the window of opportunity that we have between now and the spring of 2008 to develop the best local response plans that we can."
The long range weather outlook calls for the potential for above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall through January 2008. While it is unlikely that serious water shortages will occur prior to the spring of 2008, it is essential to prepare for the potential for serious water supply impacts in the coming months.
“I ask that all citizens be vigilant in controlling potential sources of wildfires,” says Kaine. “This includes being mindful of parking vehicles in proximity to fuel sources such as dried grass as well as avoiding all outdoor burning. While the recent widespread rainfall has provided some temporary reduction in wildfire potential, this relief will rapidly dissipate without additional periodic rainfall. The current ban on all outdoor burning will remain in place until further notice.”
For more information or tips to conserve water, visit the VA Department of Environmental Quality website.