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Pender County Utilities prepares for 2023 water shortage

BURGAW- Pender County Utilities issued a water shortage plan for Southeastern Pender County effective May 1. PCU customers located east of Interstate-40 in Rocky Point along and adjacent to NC 210 as well as all of Hampstead and Scotts Hill will be impacted.

“Pender County Utilities is taking a proactive stance to provide water to our growing county,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director. “Recent drought conditions, the lack of available materials, and water tower capacity make it necessary to issue some restraints in Southeastern Pender County.”

Restraints include suspending installation and permitting all new irrigation services, due to material availability and water supply limitations. Temporary irrigation meters and service arrangements can be made with PCU for new sod needs on a limited basis.

PCU strongly encourages private wells or well systems for irrigation purposes rather than using PCU service. If irrigation water is sourced from PCU, the use of sod is strongly discouraged to reduce irrigation water demand.

PCU will enforce irrigation restrictions. Irrigation will only be allowed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Enforcement may include the revocation of irrigation meters until restrictions are lifted.

Lastly, PCU reminds all developers that new commercial or residential developments must be able to provide acceptable fire suppression systems, either from PCU or independent of the county water system to meet NC fire code and water extension requirements. Proposed developments require a third-party Professional Engineer certification verifying adequate water flow and pressure for fire conditions.

“As of March 30, Pender County is in Moderate Drought conditions,” said Keel. “We may be forced to make further adjustments to these restrictions based on drought conditions.

“Our key concern is fire safety and providing clean, safe drinking water to PCU customers,” Keel stated.

PCU is currently constructing three new water supply wells and a new 500,000-gallon elevated tank in Scotts Hill. This project will assist the county’s water capacity until a reverse osmosis water plant is constructed in the impacted area. Completion of one well is expected to go online in December, with the additional two wells to go online in early 2024. The elevated water tank, which is under construction on US Hwy 17 in Scotts Hill, will not be completed until May 2024.

“Pender County Utilities has been impacted by tremendous growth, current supply chain supply issues, and inflation pressures,” said Keel. “We need to take these measures seriously to ensure we have water available for fire suppression and general consumption.”

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