No water worries locally

Published 4:08 am Wednesday, July 5, 2006

By By LISA TINDELL – News reporter
Drought or abnormally dry is almost too close to call.
Depending on the records you choose to study, you'll find that Escambia County falls into both categories at some point during June. With creek levels in the area appearing low, some area residents have voiced concerns about the availability of water in the area.
The situation is much the same for East Brewton. According to Water Board Superintendent Eddie Frazier, the supply for East Brewton consumers is not currently in danger.
The East Brewton water system has seen an increase in water usage over the past couple of weeks, Frazier said. The increase is suspected to be caused by the lack of rain over the same period.
The lack of rain is not currently putting a strain on the system, but future rainfall will certainly be needed to avoid in problems.
One other area where water tends to be a major concern is agriculture. According to information released for the last week of June by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Escambia County is in much need of rain.
Currently the Brewton area is more than 10 inches below average rainfall amounts, according to the ADAI report. With a little more than 22 inches of rainfall since January and less than a quarter of an inch in the last week of June, some crops are suffering.
Ron Sparks, ADAI Commissioner, along with Gov. Bob Riley, traveled to Washington, D.C. recently to express their appreciation to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns for designating 48 Alabama counties as primary natural disaster areas due to the ongoing drought. Escambia County was included in the designation.
A total of 48 Alabama counties were designated primary disaster areas due to losses caused by drought and high temperatures that occurred from Jan. 1, 2006, and continuing. Those counties are: Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Chambers, Cherokee, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Coffee, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Russell, St. Clair, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Washington, Wilcox.
This designation makes farmers in both primary and contiguous counties eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, provided eligibility requirements are met.  
FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.  FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the emergency loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.