The North Carolina Division of Water Resources has a website with fantastic colored charts and maps. It allows you to drill down for any kind of information on water needs in the state, from agricultural to drinking water to recreational boating.
After a couple of years of improvement, the state again is facing drought. A majority of the state’s counties are listed as “abnormally dry” or in “moderate drought” in the last report issued on Dec. 11, 2012. Rain in the mountains this weekend and today may help a bit, but won’t end it say state officials.
Here in the Asheville area we are at about 40 inches of rainfall for the year, which is about 3 inches short of normal.
The National Weather Service sees improvement in our situation, listing the whole mountain area as “improving” in their seasonal forecast through Feb. 28, 2013. The news for the Piedmont and South Carolina is not quite as wet, they are listed as “some improvement” in the same forecast.
Agriculture and drinking water supplies have yet to be affected by this dry spell, with soil moisture shown at above 95% and only one WNC water system, Biltmore Forest with any kind of restriction. As part of an agreement with the City of Asheville, Biltmore Forest has a voluntary water use reduction plan in place.
So this leaves area farmers, water system managers, gardeners and others doing what they always have, looking up at the winter skies and hoping for the liquid that keeps us alive.