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UPDATE: Hendersonville Issues 'Stage 1' Water Shortage Advisory Amid WNC Drought

North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council

(UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. Friday) - The city of Hendersonville issued a 'Stage 1' Water Shortage advisory Friday afternoon, as all counties in Western North Carolina continue to experience 'moderate' drought conditions according to state authorities.  City officials are asking residents to avoid unnecessary water use.

Hendersonville officials say Mills River, which supplies water to the city, is currently experiencing lower than normal levels.  It's asking residents to voluntarily adhere to a wide range of actions designed to limit water use, including the limiting of car washing, lawn and garden watering, toilet flushing, and use of water-cooled air conditioners.  “The City of Hendersonville encourages all water customers to take conservations measures,” said City Manager John Connet in a statement. “Our Water Treatment Plant is fully operational, however with our area being in a moderate drought level, we are being proactive and asking residents to voluntarily cease any unnecessary water use.”

Forty-five counties are experiencing 'moderate' drought conditions according to the North Carolina Drought Advisory Council, including all in the western part of the state.  'Moderate' is the lowest of the drought categories used by authorities.  'Severe' is the next stage up, and a portion of southwestern Macon County in Western North Carolina is already at that stage.  September has been a very dry month in the region, with less than a half an inch of rain recorded to have fallen all month at the Asheville Regional Airport.

Suggested actions from city of Hendersonville officials to conserve water - 

(1) Limit car washing to a minimum;

(2) Limit lawn and garden watering to that which is necessary for plants to survive;

(3) Do not wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, patios, parking lots, service bays, aprons, etc.;

(4) Do not leave faucets running while shaving or rinsing dishes;

(5) Water shrubbery to the minimum required, reusing household water when possible;

(6) Limit use of clothes washers and dishwashers, and when used, operate fully loaded;

(7) Use showers for bathing rather than bathtub and limit showers to no more than four minutes;

(8) Limit flushing of toilets by multiple usage;

(9) The use of disposable and biodegradable dishes is encouraged;

(10) The use of flow restrictive and water saving devices;

(11) Limit hours of operation of water-cooled air conditioners;

(12) All residents, businesses and institutions are requested to temporarily delay new landscape work until the water shortage has ended.


All counties in Western North Carolina are experiencing 'moderate' drought conditions, thanks to a mostly rainless month of September.  State authorities are asking all residents of the region to curb any non-essential use of water until conditions improve.

The North Carolina Drought Advisory Council released a map this week, showing 45 counties across the state are in moderate drought.  That includes all in Western North Carolina, though parts of those counties were labeled in the lesser category 'abnormally dry', particularly those at higher elevations.  A small portion of southwestern Macon County along the border with Georgia was listed in 'severe' drought condition, the most serious of any part in the state.

September has seen little rainfall, contributing to the drought in Western North Carolina.  Less than a half an inch of rain has fallen all month at the Asheville Regional Airport according to the National Weather Service, well below the September monthly average of 3.22 inches.  Temperatures have also been much warmer this month, with an average daily high of 85.6 degrees.  That compares to the traditional average of 77.7 degrees in September at the airport.

State authorities are asking residents in areas where moderate drought conditions exist to minimize non-essential use of water and repair any leaks in their water delivery systems.  More information can be accessed at NCDrought.org.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.