Today is Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wilson in severe drought

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Also, Rose noted that water levels can be much lower than normal, which may require voluntary or mandatory reductions in water use by local governments. The city of Lebanon has already issued a voluntary reduction, asking citizens to lower their water use at home.


Lebanon Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines has already noted the low supply of water in the citys two water tanks, one on Leeville Pike and another Old Rome Pike.


On July 2, the Old Rome tank was 36 feet below its maximum level and the Leeville Pike tank was seven feet below maximum level. Baines said Thursday the Old Rome tank had gained two feet and the Leeville tank gained one foot.


There is no shortage of water here in Lebanon or Wilson County because were on the Cumberland River, but we need to be smart and not waste any water, Baines said.


Baines said the tanks are monitored on a daily basis and said the voluntary water reduction will remain in effect for at least the next several days until the citys Water Treatment Facility lowers the daily amount of water it pumps.


The facility has been pumping at 75 percent capacity for the past week, which triggered the request for a voluntary reduction.


The NWS indicated that as a result of drought conditions, the entire state is experiences soil moisture levels below normal. Also, groundwater levels are lower than normal. Grasses and other vegetation are showing signs of stress and some agricultural impacts are starting to develop.


Rose said a cold front that is expected to pass through Middle Tennessee on Monday can break the heat wave and brings the possibility of rain. Sundays high is expected to be 94 degrees with that temperature dropping to 89 degrees on Monday and an 88-degree high on Tuesday.


Well have a possible 40 percent chance of rain on Sunday and a 50 percent chance on Monday, Rose said. However, the rain isnt expected to make headway on the lack of rainfall so far this summer.


Were not going to catch up on our rainfall deficit anytime soon, Rose noted.


Rose said the normal year-to-date amount of rainfall is 25.94 inches for this time of year, but he said the actual is only 18.21 inches.


In response to the worsening drought conditions, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville Extension Agency is launching an effort to assist farmers and ranchers with information on coping with conditions.


UT Extension has collected a cross-linked existing drought and heat-related informational resources on a public access website. Beginning today at 7 a.m., the website will be available to the public on a 24-hour basis.


Dr. Justin Rhinehart, UT Extension beef cattle specialist, is coordinating a series of livestock producer meetings to assist with the dire situation of the states forage and pastures.


A meeting will be held on Thursday, July 19, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon for farmers to ask questions and discuss ways to adjust and adapt to current conditions.


For more information on the meeting, you may contact the Wilson County UT Extension office at 444-9584.


Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at phall@wilsonpost.com.

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