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Ongoing Drought Needs Us All to be Water Wise

By November 11, 2016February 19th, 2018No Comments

UPDATE: We’ve received a nice amount of rain here in Auburn over the past month.  Enough rain has fallen for the City of Auburn Water Works Board to lift the Phase II Drought Warning, but they continue to monitor conditions and ask residents keep up their voluntary water conservation efforts.  Despite the much-needed rain, most of the state continues to suffer from drought conditions and can benefit from every drop saved!

Visit any county in the state of Alabama and you will find farmers, towns, and cities attempting to cope with a severe lack of rain.  Due to these ongoing drought conditions Governor Bentley issued a statewide emergency and burn ban. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture declared over 77% of the state a natural disaster area.

As of early November, locations throughout Alabama would need 4 to 15 inches of rain to emerge from the drought.  Unfortunately, long-range forecasts predict drought conditions to persist, or even worsen, through the end of January 2017.

In light of this situation, the City of Auburn Water Works Board has issued a Phase II Drought Warning, which puts mandatory water restrictions in place for residential and commercial water users. To compliment these efforts, Auburn University has instituted measures throughout its operations to curtail water use, including: reducing irrigation usage; discontinuing vehicle washing; only pressure washing when needed for health/safety reasons; and deferring high water use maintenance activities, where feasible.

You can help our community preserve drinking water supplies by committing to reduce your own water usage.  Whether you live on or off campus, in an apartment, duplex, condo, or house, we’ve pulled together some simple actions you can take to do your part.

4-drought-actionsIn the Laundry Room

  • Run only full loads.
  • Adjust water level to load size.
  • Re-wear clothes before washing.
  • Re-use towels before washing.
  • Combine clothes from multiple people into one load.
  • Repair any leaks.

In the Kitchen

  • Use the dishwasher instead of handwashing.
  • Only run full dishwasher loads.
  • Scrape dishes, instead of rinsing, before loading dishwasher.
  • Clean dishes ASAP to avoid the need to scrub.
  • Soak hard to clean dishes rather than letting water run on them.
  • Minimize dish use by re-using before washing.
  • Don’t use running water to defrost food.
  • Use water from cooking vegetables to water plants.
  • Fix all water leaks.
  • Don’t waste the water that runs while you wait on it to get hot. Capture the pre-hot water to use on plants, in the garden, or as water for pets.

In the Bathroom

  • Turn off water while you wash your hands/face, shave, and brush your teeth.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Shorten your showers.
  • Take fewer showers.
  • Try dry shampoo.
  • Use an electric razor.
  • Participate in No-Shave November.
  • Repair a running toilet/dripping faucet.
  • Don’t use the toilet as a trash can.
  • Institute a “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” practice.
  • Try taking a military shower.


  • If you must water with sprinklers, make sure you’re not watering pavement.
  • Try hand watering.
  • Water only early in the morning or at night.
  • Don’t wash your vehicles.
  • Don’t pressure wash.
  • Avoid planting new plants/trees/flowers.
  • Cover pools/hot tubs to avoid evaporation.
  • Fix all water leaks.

Other Opportunities to Save

  • Install WaterSense fixtures: showerheads, faucets, toilets, urinals, irrigation controls.
  • Install soil moisture sensors.
  • Use drip irrigation.
  • Try xeriscaping.
  • Plant native.
  • Install a rainwater capture system.

Thank you for doing your part; every drop makes a difference!

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