Photo courtesy of Dr. James Sanderson
Lake Purdy 10-13-16
Lake Purdy was showing the effects of the drought in this Oct. 13, 2016 photo.
While some light rain passed through the area over the weekend, the Birmingham Water Works Board has moved into the next category of drought management.
The Water Works Board issued a Stage 3 Drought Warning on Wednesday, making water conservation measures mandatory rather than just a suggestion and reminder.
"Voluntary measures were not enough to deal with this level of drought," said Darryl Jones, the Birmingham Water Works assistant general manager of operations and technical services, in a Wednesday press release.
Jones cited severe lack of rain, along with low levels at Lake Purdy, a major source for the Birmingham Water Works. He also said water consumption has not gone down through voluntary measures.
The Stage 3 warning calls for surcharges for customers using too much water or violating watering restrictions. While the agency reported a reduction of water usage over the weekend, a significant uptick in use on Monday and Tuesday led to the move further into the management plan.
Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday due to a cold front moving through the region, but the Birmingham National Weather Service office described it as nothing but a "dust settler."
Birmingham Water Works customers using above 110 percent of their monthly average will be charged a 200 percent surcharge, which will go into effect on Nov. 19, 30 days after the Stage 3 notice.
The agency also requested that local municipalities invoke their drought ordinances.
Hoover City Clerk Margie Handley said that an attorney for the city is drafting a public notice about the drought and that it should be released Thursday.
The Birmingham Water Works Drought Management Plan and its suggestions for water conservation can be found online at bwwb.org/droughttips.