HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – The entire city of Hendersonville is keeping their fingers crossed for rain.

Some areas are getting hit harder than others in the drought. Around 80,000 people in Henderson County are being asked to conserve their water.

The city put out a water shortage advisory on September 28. Now, it’s turning into an alert.

The water shortage alert begins Thursday, at midnight, and officials said they are strongly requesting that the community conserves their water, because of the drought and low levels of the Mills River.

“We’re asking our customers to limit non-essential uses. We’re really looking for our irrigation, we really want our customers to consider just irrigating their crops just to maintain survival,” said Utilities Director Adan Steurer.

Steurer said they are enacting the second stage of their water shortage response plan.

“Anything that’s really non-essential, because we want to be able to continue to provide that essential use for public health and safety,” he said.

He said they are asking customers to reduce water consumption by 20%.

“If conditions continue to worsen, the utility does have a mechanism to levy fines for that improper water use,” said Steurer. “When that river level drops to a certain amount, that’s what would trigger the next stage.”

If they go to the third stage, Steurer said they will move the percentage to 30.

Some ways the city said to cut back:

  • No car washing except by commercial facilities equipped to recycle water;  
  • Do not wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, patios, parking lots, service bays, aprons, etc.
  • Limit lawn and garden watering to only that which is necessary for plants to survive, reusing household water or reclaimed water when possible.   
  • Do not leave faucets running while shaving, brushing teeth, or rinsing dishes.   
  • Limit flushing of toilets by multiple usage.   
  • Limit use of clothes washers and dishwashers, and when used, operate fully loaded.  
  • Take showers rather than bathing and limit the duration of showers.   
  • The use of disposable and biodegradable dishes is encouraged.
  • The use of flow-restrictive and water-saving devices is encouraged.
  • Limit hours of operation of water-cooled air conditioners.
  • All residents, businesses, and institutions are requested to temporarily delay new landscape work until the water shortage has ended.  

Steurer said there are four stages to their response plan. The last one is an emergency, but he said they are far from that level.

“Our water treatment facility and water system are currently in full operation,” he said.

This is not the first time the city has gone into a stage 2 water shortage alert. Officials said the last time was in 2008.

Steurer said they are working on a project that would add a fourth source of water. It will be done by next summer and help limit the number of times they have advisory and alerts.

For more on the shortage, click here.