Watch that water

Sep 22, 2016

Maine traditionally has had few drought concerns, as it is a water-rich state; however, in the last two months Knox and Waldo county residents have been experiencing moderate drought conditions.

Droughts occur about every 20 years, with severe three- to five-year droughts occurring about every 40 years. A serious drought affected Maine in 2001 through 2003.

This moderate drought, although not as severe as reports we are hearing from Massachusetts, are causing low water levels in local rivers and lakes. A few residents have even reported problems with their wells drying up.

Regional water shortages, or a water shortage that affects a home or neighborhood, are not uncommon.

A little over half of Maine people are served by a water district. The rest have private wells. Wells that are dug are especially vulnerable to water shortages. Drilled wells are less vulnerable, because they reach down into the bedrock, where water levels do not change quickly. However, a severe drought over a long period of time can affect the water available in drilled wells, too.

In a local water shortage or long drought, residents should take steps to conserve water at home, make sure their water is safe, and protect their water system.

The following tips have been provided by the Knox County Emergency Management Agency. In addition, take notice if any special information is put out by the local water utility, by the town, or the state, about drinking water safety.

For those who get their water from a water utility:

— If your water utility asks you to save water, always do so.

— Conserve water in your daily routine. This does not include cutting back on drinking water. Drinking sufficient water is important for your health.

— Check your home for leaks (your utility can help you with this)

— Remember, you can save money and help the environment by sensible water use at any time.

For those who have a private well:

— Make sure you have a safe source of sufficient drinking water for your family

— Protect your well and pump: If your water level is low, you don’t want to damage your system by running the well dry. Spread out your water usage by timing showers, laundry, and other usages of large amounts of water. Conserve water in your daily routine.

— Do not have water dumped in your well. This is a serious health risk, and a waste of money, as most of it will drain away.

If you are having problems with your well due to drought conditions in Maine, you should first contact your city or town to report the problem and determine if there are any resources to help you.

More water conservation tips can be found at mainewater.com/conservation-1.

The good news is The Old Farmer's Almanac, which is famous for its long-range weather predictions, has suggested winter will be colder than normal with a slightly above-normal precipitation and a near-normal snowfall. It is also predicting a slightly cooler spring, with above-normal precipitation.

So perhaps those water levels in our rivers, lakes and wells will be back to normal by springtime.

Information from Knox County Emergency Management Agency.

This day in history

On Sept. 22, 1975, Sarah Jane Moore aimed a gun at President Gerald Ford as he left the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The attempt on the president’s life came only 17 days after another woman had tried to assassinate Ford while he was on his way to give a speech to the California Legislature in Sacramento.

Moore’s attempt was thwarted by a bystander, who grabbed Moore’s arm when she raised the gun. She was able to fire off one shot, but it failed to find its target. Secret Service agents quickly hustled Ford into a waiting vehicle and sped him to safety.

On Sept. 5, 1975, in Sacramento, Calif., a woman named Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme had also attempted to shoot Ford. Fromme, a drug-addled Charles Manson cult follower, and Moore, a mentally unstable former FBI informant and accountant who fell into fringe revolutionary politics, both targeted Ford as a symbol of their hatred for the political establishment.

At one time, both women served time in the same West Virginia prison, until Fromme attempted an escape in 1979 and was transferred to a higher security facility. Moore successfully escaped in 1989, but turned herself in two days later and was also transferred to another prison. Both women remain incarcerated today.

Information from history.com.

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