The area has experienced an extended period of dry conditions over the past month which has resulted in relatively low flows in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, where the City draws its water supply. Since the weather forecast shows no signs of significant precipitation in the foreseeable future, City Manager Eden Freeman has issued a Drought Watch in accordance with the City’s Drought Response Plan.
There are three stages of the Drought Response Plan:
|Yellow||WATCH||Drought potential if conditions persist||Increase water conservation awareness; voluntary actions by citizens|
|Orange||WARNING||Onset of drought is imminent||Water conservation awareness; precautionary measures still voluntary, but highly encouraged|
|Red||EMERGENCY||Significant drought or low water event||Mandatory responses for water conservation by the public|
The following are voluntary activities the City recommends residents consider while a Drought Watch is in effect:
- Mow lawns to two inches or more and leave clippings (higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper to hold soil moisture better than closely clipped lawn)
- Use mulch around plants to reduce evaporation
- Aerate lawn to reduce evaporation
- Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. Fertilizer applications increase the need for water. Apply
- fertilizers that contain slow‐release, water‐insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Place rain barrels under gutter downspouts to collect water for plants, car washing, or general cleaning projects
- Plant native or dry‐loving (xeric) plants in landscaping
- Do not use the garbage disposal
- Use automatic dishwasher only when load is full
- Limit showers to 5 to 10 minutes/day/person
- Avoid running water to get cold a temperature and keep a pitcher of cold water in fridge
- Wrap hot water heater and pipes with insulating material
- Install faucet aerators
The City will continue to monitor this situation very closely and if the dry weather continues or worsens, a Drought Warning may need to be implemented. Please check the City’s website at www.winchesterva.gov/utilities/drought-response-plan for updates. The City thanks everyone for their cooperation.