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Drought Warning Remains

FARMVILLE – Despite plentiful rainfall in late August and early September, Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality has not rescinded its Drought Warning declaration for the Appomattox River basin, which includes Farmville, Prince Edward, Buckingham and Cumberland.

“Yes, it is still in effect,” DEQ's Director of Water Supply Scott Kudlas informed The Herald on Monday evening.

“While rainfall deficits and stream flow has improved due to recent rainfall,” he emailed from a conference in Washington, D.C. in response to the newspaper's query, “groundwater levels continue to cause stream flow to recede quickly after a storm.

“We are also waiting,” Kudlas explained, “for water supply storage to improve basin-wide.”

August rainfall topped eight inches in Farmville, twice the month's yearly average, and September has been sodden, redeeming fields and lawns from their withering.

But, DEQ wonders, is the rain solely due to one-time tropical effects or is long-term water level healing underway?

Other localities and public water suppliers included in the Drought Warning area are the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Powhatan and Prince George, and the towns of Appomattox, Blackstone, Burkeville and Crewe.

Voluntary water conservation activities remain the order of the day but DEQ states that “drought warning responses are required when the onset of a significant drought event is imminent. Water conservation and contingency plans that were prepared during the drought watch stage should be implemented.”

The layman's perspective is that a significant drought event no longer seems imminent, or even likely, given the amount of rainfall.

DEQ will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation, and has generally been issuing updates in mid-month.