The Snake Creek Reservoir, the main water supplier for Carroll County, is 5 feet below full pool, putting it about 70 to 75 percent of its storage capacity. The drop is due to the Level 1 drought that was declared in the county last month.
Officials said the reservoir is in “good shape” with more than a 12-month supply currently stored, enough to assist a neighboring county facing a Level 3 drought.
Tim Padgett, Carroll County’s Emergency Management Agency director, was in contact with various officials on Tuesday and said they are planning to meet by early November. He said that the county is a long way from crisis mode.
“From our standpoint, we’ve had some reports of some folks being concerned, and we’ve been monitoring the situation,” he said. “As far as our plans are, if it continues to not rain we will put together a coordination meeting with of all the stakeholders, the county and city departments and water authority, to discuss our contingency plan. I think we’re in pretty decent shape. We are monitoring it and want to be on top of it and don’t want it to be a surprise, so that’s why we’ll probably host a coordination meeting in early November.”
Padgett said there have been two previous droughts during which steps were taken to ensure there was an interconnection between the municipalities and Carroll County Water Authority. He said that valves were put in place several years ago so the agencies would be able to help one another out should a crisis develop.
“There are plans if we do get in crisis mode but we are a long way from that,” he said. “Our contingency plan is we would meet together and talk about it and have the state and national service involved. I have spoken to Carrollton and other cities today (Tuesday) just see what we are going to do and have some plans in place in case it continues to be dry. We are monitoring and we are also trying to be prepared because drought is one of the hardest emergencies to plan for because you can’t make water.”
Matt Windom, executive director of the Carroll County Water Authority, said the Level 1 drought response issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Divison in September still stands for Carroll and the water guidelines remain unchanged at this time. Level 1, he said, is the least restrictive of the three drought levels.
“The Snake Creek Reservoir pool is our public water supply and it is at 5 feet below full pool,” said Windom. “It’s not uncommon for it to be down this time of the year. Normally, we see our reservoir levels at the lowest during the fall. At its current level at 5 feet below full pool, it’s at about 70 to 75 percent of it’s storage capacity. At that capacity, it’s still storing just shy of 2.8 billion gallons.”
Windom said the authority will have to continue to watch the water supply, and if it does get critical it can make a request to go to a different level but that is something he doesn’t anticipate happening at this time. He said the authority has been in discussion with Haralson County officials to determine its needs and whether or not Carroll County would be able to help.
“We sell Villa Rica water on a daily basis and we’ve been doing that for a constant level for the majority of this year and there have been no dramatic or substantial changes with that,” he said. “We are looking at ways where we may be working with Haralson County right now. They called us a number of days a go to talk about the possibility of them buying water from us. One of the areas is off of Morgan Road and they do anticipate buying a small amount of water from us from there. Hopefully that will be active in the next couple of days and we may be able to supply them with 100 to 200 gallons per minute.”
Windom said that October 2007 was one of the most severe droughts in the area since the 1930s. He compared this year’s drought to be near that. The 2007 drought lasted until the winter rain of 2008 and the spring rains of 2009 brought the levels back up by April of the latter year. He advised residents to use water wisely and to continue to monitor the situation.
The city of Carrollton issued a drought public information campaign advising customers to regularly check for and repair leaks inside and outside of their homes, and to adjust sprinklers so only their lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
Under drought response Level 1, activities that may be done any time of day include the irrigation of personal food gardens, irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf for 30 days after installation, drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses, and hand watering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container. The city further advises general landscape watering be done between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. each day.