September 4, 2006
Mandatory water rationing is in effect for hundreds of folks in New Ellenton.
People in the Talatha Rural Community Water District are being told to only use water for essential needs.
Officials say the situation could get worse.
The issue here is not a lack of water, but rather getting to the water--because two of this community's three water wells are out of order.
So now, there's just one source for fifteen hundred customers to share.
"I'm going to have fish for supper, and I'll have to use some water then," said water customer Dorothy Josey.
Dorothy and her husband Ernest had just learned of the extreme emergency water restrictions in their area when they spoke with News 12.
"I was surprised because we've never had a problem," Dorothy said.
"We have lost down to about twenty percent of our pumping capacity," Paul Johns, chairman of Talatha Water Company, told News 12.
The restrictions mean no outside watering, no washing automobiles, turning off swimming pool systems, and limiting washing machine use until further notice.
"We're concerned," Johns said. "If there were a fire in the community or any form of break or leak in the system, that we would lose the water we have in our tanks at that time."
Officials tell us the situation could become severe if the ration isn't followed.
On that warning, the Joseys plan to go with the flow.
"All we're interested in is water to drink and cook with," Ernest Josey said. "We can wait as far as washing clothes and cars and things, we can wait awhile."
"What about taking a shower?" we asked him.
"Well, I reckon we'd have to go to a creek to take a shower," he said.
Officials have been monitoring the water supply all day. They tell News 12 they are really worried about tomorrow, when school re-opens at Silver Bluff High and New Ellenton Middle. They'll be asking the schools to conserve water...for example, the football team won't be allowed to take showers.
This problem may not be fixed for several days. Officials are saying Thursday at the earliest. The big hold-up is waiting for new pumps for the wells. Once those are in place, the water has to be tested by the health department.
The water department is asking that all leaks be reported immediately.