(LUGOFF-ELGIN) - For many, it’s a place to play and to relax. But more importantly, Lake Wateree is the water source for two towns: Lugoff and Elgin. While it doesn’t look like a lake that’s suffering from the drought, Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority General Manager Mike Hancock says don’t be fooled.
"People are just not thinking about it. It's just like saving gasoline. Nobody thought about it until it got to three dollars a gallon, then they said, oh, we better think of this," Hancock explains.
Hancock says Lugoff-Elgin has the same problem as neighboring water districts. It needs rain, and it needs it now.
"This is not just affecting one community, it's affecting everybody in the southeast, really."
So, Hancock’s doing what the city of Columbia did three weeks ago: asking, not telling, people to conserve water by doing things like watering lawns between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., and cutting down on non-essential water needs.
"What we want is for people to take voluntary actions now so that we can make this water last as long as it can, so that we don't have to enact these as mandatory restrictions,” Hancock says.
About eight feet below the surface of Lake Wateree is the water intake pump for all of Lugoff-Elgin’s water system. If drought conditions continue, causing the lake levels to drop to that pump, Hancock says it would be nothing short of a crisis.
"Without that intake, we have no water. If it becomes uncovered because of the water going down below it, we have no water."
Lugoff-Elgin is asking customers to follow some simple steps to conserve water:
- Reduce water use to the minimum amount possible.
- Eliminate the washing of sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots and other hard surface areas.
- Eliminate the washing down of buildings for purposes other than immediate fire protection.
- Eliminate the flushing of gutters.
- Eliminate the domestic washing of cars, boats, etc.
- Eliminate the use of water to maintain fountains, reflection ponds and other decorative bodies of water except where required to support aquatic life.
- Reduce water of lawns, plants, trees, etc. to the minimum necessary. Water only between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.