Firefighters urge people to conserve water under State of Emergency

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — On Thursday, Governor Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for all 55 counties in West Virginia because of severe drought conditions.

For Eddie Osborne, who has lived in Princeton his whole life, this is the worst drought he has seen.

“Everybody’s yards are drying up,” Osborne said. “Can’t cut grass. Yards are yellow instead of green and it’s just bad. It’s the baddest I’ve ever seen it around here.”

River and streams are running dry in some areas and people who rely on wells and creeks to get their water are facing tough circumstances. Princeton Fire Department Captain Keith Gunnoe said people should limit their use of unnecessary water.

“Unneeded use of water such as washing vehicles or watering your lawn,” Gunnoe said. “Quite honestly, as dry as the ground is, you probably couldn’t water your lawn enough to give it the moisture it needs.”

The statewide burn ban is still in effect, along with the State of Emergency, but several brush fires have broken out in the last couple days, sparking public concern about how firefighters will fight them.

As for the Princeton Fire Department, Gunnoe said they are not worried about running out of water for their trucks in case of an emergency.

“In the city here, we’ve got a fairly substantial amount of fire hydrants that’s on West Virginia American water company,” Gunnoe said.
“Unless the Bluestone Lake manages to dry up, we’re good.”

Unless you are giving livestock water to drink, the State of Emergency stops non-agricultural irrigation and other uses that are deemed unnecessary.

“I have to feed my animals,” Osborne said. “I have to water my animals.”

For more information on the State of Emergency, please click here.

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