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Drought warning: City of Staunton asks residents to reduce water usage

Rebecca Barnabi
shower water
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The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a drought warning advisory for the Shenandoah Drought Evaluation Region last week, which includes the city of Staunton.

The water level in Staunton Dam, one of the city’s drinking sources, is at an acceptable measure.

However, continued drought conditions in the area have impacted the dam’s water level. Until water level returns to normal, the city is asking residents to voluntarily reduce water use.

Water conservation in city departments began earlier this week, including suspension of fire hydrant testing and flushing and watering flowers and plants from Lake Tams as part of park maintenance.

Conserving water is always a good idea. Here are a few ways residential users can reduce water consumption:

  1. Check toilets for leaks. A leaking toilet can waste over 100 gallons each day.
  2. Take shorter showers. Ninety seconds less each day can save hundreds of gallons a month.
  3. Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. There’s no need to expend five to seven gallons of water to get rid of a tissue or cigarette butt.
  4. Turn off the water while brushing teeth or shaving.
  5. Only run dishwashers and washing machines when they are full.
  6. Water lawns only when needed. If grass springs back after stepping on it, it doesn’t need water. Only water lawns early in the morning or in the cool of the evening. Morning is better as it helps prevent the growth of fungus.
  7. Don’t use a hose to clean driveways, walkways and steps. Use a broom or blower instead.
  8. Rinse fruits and vegetables in a bowl of clean water instead of under a running faucet.

Commercial Users can reduce water consumption by:

  1. Implementing interior retrofit for all high-water use faucets and materials.
  2. Restricting washing of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots or any other paved surface except in the case of meeting health and safety standards.
  3. Prohibiting operations of fountains at commercial sites.

More tips for conserving water are available online.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.