Originally created 01/06/01

Continued drought dries wells



Near-normal rainfall in November and December hasn't slowed Georgia's three-year drought.

Just ask James Hardman and Nancy Clark, who have been living without water for four months in the Madison County home they share.

"I'm hauling it from anybody who's got a spigot outside," Mr. Hardman said. "I've got to have water for my family."

Mr. Hardman has even surrounded his home with 5-gallon buckets to catch rainfall, but that doesn't help much when there's no rain - and meanwhile there are dishes and clothes to wash, food to cook, and two adults and two teen-agers with water needs.

"It's pretty rough," Ms. Clark acknowledged. "It's a matter of figuring out each day where we're going to get water."

Neighbors Donald and Diana Robinson are a little better off. Mr. Hardman's bored well is only about 45 feet deep, but the Robinsons' well goes 75 feet down. Their well still produces enough water for bathing, plumbing and cooking, but not for laundry - and with four children living at home, there's a lot of laundry, which means a lot of trips, Mrs. Robinson said.

"We can pretty much make it, because I go to the laundromat all the time," she said.

"The rain we've had hasn't helped any."

According to a drought report recently completed by the state Environmental Protection Division, thousands of wells have gone dry during the drought, and Madison County is among the hardest-hit in the state, with about 100 dry wells.

And the county continues to see more dry wells, said Marvin Rowland, operations manger for Oconee Well Drillers.

"They're still going dry," Mr. Rowland said.

"The water table will continue to drop throughout the winter. The water we've got so far (in rain and snow) hasn't helped at all.

It's going to take an abnormal amount of winter rains to get the water table back up. Even if we get normal rainfall, we're not out of the woods."