The U.S. Drought Monitor Says Severe, So Why is CLTWater Asking for Voluntary Conservation?

On August 6, the US Drought Monitor escalated local drought conditions in both severity and area for our region. However, Charlotte Water remains under voluntary water conservation recommendations. That doesn’t make sense, does it?!??  Well, it does, if you look at how we use our water and its source.

Charlotte Water is one of 40+ members of the Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group (CW-DMAG) following a Low Inflow Protocol (LIP). The LIP is the drought management plan major water users in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin (see picture below) use to coordinate actions during a drought. The key words there are major water users.


Under the CW-DMAG’s Low Inflow Protocol (LIP), data is collected and used to determine if conditions warrant status escalation. In order to determine the water supply drought stage, the CW-DMAG compares:

  • Lake storage indices – the amount of water in the lakes as a ratio of what amount of water is expected to be in the lakes
  • US Drought Monitor levels – published by state and federal agencies, and
  • Streamflow ratios – the amount of water flowing into the river and lakes as a ratio of what is usual.

The goal of the LIP is to save as much water as possible so that it lasts as long as possible for as many people as possible until the drought ends. Know that we are watching conditions very carefully and evaluating water usage each day. We will make sure that if mandatory restrictions are ever necessary, we will enact them.

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