Drought still causing problems for state

Published 6:15 pm Friday, July 18, 2008

While drought conditions have improved across the state, people are still feeling the effects of the dry weather.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report released this week, almost all of Chilton County is classified in a severe drought compared to 29 percent of the whole state. Most of the areas affected by the D2 severe drought are in northeastern Alabama.

All but about six percent of the state is currently experiencing some drought. The only areas not classified in a drought are Mobile and Baldwin counties.

Because of the drought, Alabama Power is taking additional steps to conserve water.

Alabama Power has cut releases from its hydroelectric dams to the minimums required to protect fisheries, endangered species, water quality and critical municipal and industrial uses. These minimal releases are the only times the company is generating any power from its dams.

Though spring rains and careful management of water resources helped raise lake levels in the early part of the year, the flow of water into our reservoirs has returned to the record low levels experienced in 2007. Below-normal rainfall in recent weeks, summer heat and evaporation have also led to lake levels falling at a faster than normal rate.

“Alabama Power will do all it can to conserve water resources. Lake residents, and those who enjoy Alabama Power lakes, should be aware that the historic drought is far from over,” the company said in a press release.

The company recommends people with boats and water-related equipment should remain alert to changing conditions and takes the necessary steps to protect their property.

For details about lake conditions and operations, go to www.alabamapower.com

and click on the “drought” icon. Details are also available by calling 1-800-LAKES11 (1-800-525-3711).