Okatie, SC – (May 20, 2022) – Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) experienced a new record high demand for water on Wednesday, May 18. The peak demand, primarily caused by landscape irrigation during early-morning hours, led to scores of complaints about discolored water. If the authority can’t convince customers to revise their irrigation schedules, new peaks may cause even more widespread discoloration problems and reduced water pressure. Loss of pressure could threaten firefighter’s access to adequate supplies or necessitate boil water advisories in Beaufort and Jasper counties.
BJWSA is asking customers to adjust their irrigation timers to water only three days per week, on a rotating schedule. Customers with odd-numbered addresses are asked to irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Those with even-numbered addresses are asked to irrigate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays between midnight and 3 am or from 9 am to noon. No irrigation should occur on Mondays or any day between the hours of 3 AM and 9 AM.
“On Wednesday customers used 34.9 million gallons of water, mostly during the early morning hours. Our two combined plants are only designed to produce a maximum of 39 million gallons in a day under ideal conditions,” said Chief of Plant Operations Brian Chemsak. “If we can convince customers to make these simple adjustments, we can continue to meet demands until we’re able to increase our production capacity in the next few years.”
BJWSA is working to increase production and capacity, but an expansion to double capacity at the Purrysburg Water Treatment Plant in Jasper County will not be complete until summer 2025. The Authority is working with professional landscapers, neighborhood associations, property management companies and other groups to implement the plan.
The irrigation guidelines were developed in cooperation with Clemson Extension Service in order to ensure that lawns are being watered at appropriate times for health and growth.
Chemsak also stated, “We’re trying to strike a balance between homeowners and various subdivisions’ desire to keep landscapes green and the operational limitations of our system. These irrigation adjustments will smooth out peak daily water demands and allow our water storage tanks to fill between high usage times.”
For more information, go to www.bjwsa.org/water-use or call 843-987-9200.