'Severe' drought conditions call for prudent water use

  • Published
  • By Steve Hoffmann
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly all of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties in south Mississippi are currently experiencing severe drought conditions.

So far, the base weather station has recorded a total rainfall accumulation of only 11.32 inches. That is about half of the average for this time of year at 20.5 inches.

Keesler draws water from a network of 10 wells located on base and uses six elevated water towers for storage. According to Al Watkins, base water manager, Keesler consumes about 2-2.5 million gallons of water every day.

"Right now, there's no conservation or watering measures in place," said Mr. Watkins. "We expect the water demand to rise to a normal usage for this time of year, but if water usage reaches high enough levels we would suggest some type of conservation."

Here are a few tips from an online water conservation Web site, www.wateruseitwisely.com:  
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. If water runs off your lawn easily, split watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soilmoisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they're full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
  • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300gallons a month.
  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
  • When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on and adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Soak pots and pans; don't let the water run while you scrape them clean.