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North Carolina Drought Advisory

Released: December 8, 2016

The North Carolina Drought Advisory issued by the Drought Management Advisory Council has been updated to reflect drought conditions on December 6, 2016 indicated on the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina.  Until further notice, the NCDMAC strongly urges the implementation of drought response actions, for all water users located in or dependent on water resources from the areas of the state experiencing the following drought conditions:

  • (D3) Extreme drought conditions.
  • (D2) Severe drought conditions.
  • (D1) Moderate drought conditions.
  • (DO) Impending drought conditions (abnormally dry conditions).

County Drought Classification

If the US Drought Monitor of NC shows more than one drought designation in a county, the drought intensity classification for each county published by the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council is the highest drought designation that applies to at least twenty five percent (25%) of the land area of a county.

Drought Classification and Response Actions

D3-Extreme Drought

The NCDMAC urgently advises all water users in the counties that are indicated on the US Drought Monitor Map of North Carolina as suffering from Extreme Drought (D3) conditions to enact the following precautions in addition to previous advisories until further notice:

  • All water users are advised to follow their Water Shortage Response Plan (WSRP). An effective WSRP should adhere to the guidelines set forth by the water use rules during drought that became effective March 19, 2007. Water users without a written plan are advised to follow the applicable default water use reduction measures outlined in Section .0614 of the rules during extreme drought designations.
  • Stay informed on drought conditions and advisories (www.ncdrought.org).
  • Participate in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources.
  • Reduce socially and economically important water uses to ensure the availability of water for critical needs (e.g. firefighting, health and safety, etc.).
  • Revisit and/or explore, if not already accomplished, alternative water sources and reuse options.

D2-Severe Drought

The NCDMAC strongly advises all water users in the counties that are indicated on the US Drought Monitor Map as suffering from Severe Drought (D2) conditions to enact the following precautions in addition to previous advisories until further notice:

  • Implement Water Shortage Response Plans, if not already enacted.
  • Stay informed on drought conditions and advisories (www.ncdrought.org).
  • Participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources.
  • Reexamine water delivery systems to minimize water loss and maximize water use efficiency.
  • Eliminate nonessential uses of water.
  • Evaluate the feasibility of incorporating water reuse, reclamation and/or recycling into daily operations.
  • Seek to reduce water usage by, at least, the same percentage as the percent differential between normal seasonal water supply availability and the actual water supply availability resulting from current drought conditions.
  • Increase public awareness and educational outreach programs emphasizing the need to conserve water.

D1 - Moderate Drought

The NCDMAC advises all water users in the counties that are indicated on the US Drought Monitor Map as suffering from Moderate Drought (D1) conditions to enact the following precautions in addition to previous advisories until further notice:

  • Adhere to local water use restrictions.
  • Participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources.
  • Stay informed on drought conditions and advisories (www.ncdrought.org).
  • Project water needs and available water supply for a ninety day period from the issuance of this advisory.
  • Assess your vulnerability to the drought conditions and adjust water usage to prolong available supply.
  • Inspect water delivery system components (e.g. irrigation lines, fixtures, processing equipment, water system lines, etc.), repair leaks and ensure that existing equipment is operating as efficiently as possible.
  • Minimize nonessential uses of water.
  • Implement available public awareness and educational outreach programs emphasizing the need to conserve water.

D0 - Abnormally Dry

The NCDMAC requests all water users in the counties that are indicated on the US Drought Monitor Map as suffering from Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions to closely monitor their water supply source for diminished capacity and take precautions to prepare for impending drought conditions.

  • Review and be prepared to implement your Water Shortage Response Plans at the appropriate time.
  • Participate, as appropriate, in regional and local coordination for the management of water resources.
  • Stay informed on drought conditions and advisories (www.ncdrought.org).


Drought Monitor History

Counties Under Current Advisory

D3 - Extreme Drought

Cherokee County
Clay County
Graham County
Jackson County
Macon County
Swain County

Total: 6

D2 - Severe Drought

Buncombe County
Cleveland County
Haywood County
Henderson County
Madison County
McDowell County
Polk County
Rutherford County
Transylvania County

Total: 9

D1 - Moderate Drought

Alexander County
Alleghany County
Ashe County
Avery County
Burke County
Cabarrus County
Caldwell County
Catawba County
Davie County
Forsyth County
Gaston County
Iredell County
Lincoln County
Mecklenburg County
Mitchell County
Rockingham County
Rowan County
Stokes County
Surry County
Union County
Watauga County
Wilkes County
Yadkin County
Yancey County

Total: 24

D0 - Abnormally Dry

Alamance County
Anson County
Caswell County
Chatham County
Davidson County
Durham County
Granville County
Guilford County
Harnett County
Lee County
Montgomery County
Moore County
Orange County
Person County
Randolph County
Richmond County
Stanly County
Wake County

Total: 18