Both Carrollton and Carroll County water authorities have recorded significant drops in reservoir levels that were caused by heat evaporation and increases in demand. But the losses are nowhere near those during the 2007 drought, and local officials see no alarming shortages.
Electric utilities are also experiencing heavy demands caused by air conditioning, but those extra loads have brought no outages or “blackouts.”
Temperatures late last week rose above 100 degrees before settling back down in the 90s this week.
A series of Tuesday afternoon thunderstorms caused some power outages due to falling trees and lighting strikes.
“Our water demand and production have been up for about three weeks,” said Carrollton Assistant City Manager Tim Grizzard. “Although there’s been some rain, the reservoir levels are down. Lake Buckhorn is down about 18 inches and Sharp Creek about 14 inches. Lake Carroll is full, but not over the spillway.”
Grizzard said that during summer heat, water evaporates off Lake Carroll at about 500 gallons per minute, according to a study conducted several years ago. Buckhorn and Sharp Creek, with larger surface areas, would have much more evaporation.
“We have a lot of storage and our water supply can last a long time without rain,” he said. “We’re not in any sort of drought like we had in 2007. We’ve had a fair amount of rain and it’s not a terribly dry summer.”
Matt Windom, executive director of Carroll County Water Authority, said water in the Snake Creek reservoir is dropping about a half-inch to three-quarters an inch per day. The drops are due to the evaporation, water taken out for treatment and water released to maintain stream flows.
“Overall, considering the heat, the reservoir level is holding up well,” Windom said Thursday. “Today, we’re about a foot below normal. In the fall of 2007, we got down to six feet below normal.”
Reservoir levels typically drop from June to October or November.
“Then we see rains pick back up and lake levels increase,” Windom said. “We expect more drops during the next few months.”
Demand for water has been rising in the last few weeks.
“It’s related to a few things,” he said. “Poultry farmers are using water for cooling. People are using it on their vegetable gardens and outdoors for pools, irrigation and washing cars.”
Under the Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010, watering for personal gardens, new plants and several other irrigation uses, is allowed any day of the week with no time restrictions. Outdoor watering for any purposes other than watering plants, is restricted to an odd-even number scheduling. Odd number addresses are asked to water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, while even numbers are assigned Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Watering times are from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. No Friday watering is permitted.
“We have a good water supply and it’s holding up well,” Windom said. “We have over a year’s supply stored up and we’re in good shape going ahead. We don’t have any reason to be concerned about water shortages.”
Tuesday afternoon thunderstorms took out about 2,744 Carroll County customers for short periods of time, according to Kelly Hester of Carroll EMC.
“All the outages were related to storms coming through the area, with lightning and falling trees,” Hester said.
No shortages have been caused by the heat, she said.
“We have an automated meter infrastructure that allows us to monitor individual transformer loads,” she said. “We’re usually notified before any can fail.”
Carroll EMC sent six linemen to northern Virginia to help restore power caused by lines down in the Rappahannock EMC territory hit last week by severe weather.
John Kraft of Georgia Power said his company is experiencing only some isolated issues with heat.
“We’ve had some scattered cases of outages where too much load was placed on a transformer and the fuse blew,” Kraft said, “but we’ve have nothing like a blackout.”