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County’s water help might dry up soon

County emergency managers will hand out more bottled water – perhaps the last shipment – this week, continuing the fight against the summer drought.

Monday, September 13, 1999

County emergency managers will hand out more bottled water – perhaps the last shipment – this week, continuing the fight against the summer drought.

"We do have water at Wal-Mart again," said Don Mootz, director of Lawrence County Emergency Services, which includes the Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency.

"We expect to start handing it out this week through township trustees," Mootz said.

This is the second shipment from Wal-Mart, but the agency was not expecting it. In fact, the agency had already switched its focus from bottled water to public access water taps to combat the drought problems, he said.

The tap plan is progressing and will meet the needs of people with dry wells, which still number in the hundreds, Mootz said.

The EMA received no calls Friday, deputy director Mike Boster said.

"Some trustees are still anxious to get the package water," Boster said. "So I imagine there are many who are still out of water."

The EMA has provided three bulk water tanks to trustees to serve areas without water, he said. Two tanks are in Decatur Township while one is in Elizabeth Township.

"We probably won’t buy any more of those since we’re on the track of using the (taps)," Mootz said.

This year’s dry weather has left more than just homeowners with wells facing water a shortage.

Farmers are selling off cattle early this year to cope with drought pressure and they are getting hit with early feeding problems, Lawrence County Extension agent Dave Dyke said.

Because the dry weather has destroyed pasture fields, some farmers already have started feeding hay and silage to livestock, he said.

Most have hay already, but that is usually used in the winter months. And there will be no second cutting of fescue and other grasses because of the drought, which will mean even more hay shortages later this year, Dyke said.

The Extension Service has coordinated with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to provide farmers who need hay with a way to find it.

The office in Ironton has a list of 150 hay suppliers, Dyke said.

In some cases, it’s free. Farmers who need the hay should call 1-800-282-1955 and access the list of suppliers and people who might haul it, he said.

Also, the Gallia-Lawrence Farm Service Agency is trying to help farms suffering drought damage through the federal Emergency Conservation Program.

A producer qualifying for the program may receive up to 64 percent of the cost it takes to correct a drought problem. Activities such as installing pipe to another source of water, building storage facilities like tanks and troughs above ground or developing springs qualify.

Applications will be accepted until Sept. 20.

For more information about the disaster programs, contact the Gallia-Lawrence FSA office at 1-800-391-6638.