PINEVILLE — With rainfall far below the normal average, officials are encouraging residents to conserve water and refrain from unnecessary use.

“There is no emergency, but we are in a drought situation,” emphasized Dean Meadows, county emergency services director.

Meadows has had reports of fewer than five water wells drying up around the county.

“There could be more, but they just haven’t contacted us,” Meadows explained. “People who have water wells have been through this before and they make provisions for these situations.”

In Oceana, Mayor Nola Rose is also asking municipal water customers to conserve.

“We’ve got a conserve water order due to the drought,” she explained. “There is no emergency yet, but we need to conserve until further notice.”

The 3,000 Oceana water customers can’t wash cars or houses, or water their lawns, those types of things. Operating ornamental fountains are also prohibited until further notice.

“We’re pumping 16 to 18 hours a day,” Rose said.

The system does have a large reservoir and large storage tanks, which has helped, Rose said.

“We do have to conserve water until we get some rain,” she said.

Bathroom use accounts for about 75 percent of the water used inside the home, and another 8 percent washes down the drain in the kitchen.

Officials recommend taking shorter showers and save the baths for special occasions, which can save about half the water used by a family.

Use a low-flow shower-head.

Replace older, larger-use toilets with newer, low-flush models. Models after 1992 use less than half the water of older versions.

Do not allow the water to continuously run while brushing teeth.

Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.

When buying a new dishwasher, consider purchasing a water-saving model. New models use about 25 percent less water than older ones.

Insulate hot water pipes where possible to avoid long delays, and wasted water, while waiting for the water to “run hot.”

Do not allow the water to continuously run when washing dishes by hand.

Install a low-flow faucet aerator, which can cut water use in half.

Wash only full loads in the clothes washer. Washing small loads uses more than twice as much water per pound of laundry.

When buying a new clothes washer, consider purchasing a water-saving model. Newer models can save up to 40 percent of the water used by a conventional model.

Check toilets, faucets and other plumbing fixtures for leaks regularly, and repair any that occur quickly.

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