All News & Blogs
Stafford County says dropping water levels in reservoirs are no cause for concern yet
Eric Espeland paddles on Stafford's Abel Lake Reservoir, down about 2 feet below normal because of the dry spell.
PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 8/1/2012
The grass around the Stafford County government complex is on its way to a nice shade of brown this summer.
Watering has halted on county properties, as voluntary water restrictions continue for Stafford residents.
Dry conditions this summer may be hurting yards and farms, but they're not yet affecting public water supplies in the region.
"Our reservoirs are holding up pretty well. This is typical summer weather for us," said Janet Spencer of Stafford County's Utilities Department.
Abel Lake Reservoir in southern Stafford is 2.1 feet below normal, and in the north, Smith Lake Reservoir is down 3.4 feet.
Those levels are not causing concern for officials yet, as water demand has decreased from when Stafford saw its last severe drought in 2007.
That year, mandatory water restrictions were in place because of fast-dropping levels in the two reservoirs that provide water throughout the county.
The average demand this summer is 9.19 million gallons per day, much less than the 14.01 million gallons per day that residents were using five years ago, despite population increases.
"Our citizens are doing a great job conserving," Spencer said.
The University of Mary Washington weather station has recorded slightly more than 3 inches of rain as the month of July came to a close. That's about an inch below normal for the month.
For the year, Fredericksburg's rainfall deficit has grown to about 6 inches below normal, with just over 18 inches total recorded as of Tuesday evening.
No significant amount of rainfall is in the forecast. However, there's a possibility of isolated thunderstorms today, like the one that blew through the city Tuesday afternoon. High temperatures will be in the low 90s.
Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg have fewer worries about their water supplies. They draw water from four sources: Ni, Motts Run and Hunting Run reservoirs, and the Rappahannock River.
Spotsylvania Utilities Director Edward Petrovitch said the county's water levels are "in really good shape."
Petrovitch said Motts Run and Hunting Run are full, and Ni is down about 1 foot. The Rappahannock's water flows are normal for this time of year.