Updated 4:50 p.m.
Many of the boat ramps on Lake Wylie and Lake Norman are now closed as the region's drought persists. Duke Energy announced new closings Tuesday and said remaining ramps could be closed by week's end. Meanwhile, area water systems are continuing to urge users to limit water use.
The region has been in a Stage 1 drought condition since it was announced Nov. 1 by the Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group. That's the second of five stages and comes with a recommendation for voluntary water conservation as well as operational adjustments by Duke Energy.
The latest closings on Lake Wylie affect one more boat ramp at the Buster Boyd Access Area, in York, and five of the six ramps at the South Point Access Area, according to Duke.
The other two boat ramps at Buster Boyd already were closed, as are all four ramps at Allison Creek Access Area, also in York.
Duke said the boat ramps at Nivens Creek Access Area remain open.
"Duke Energy will continue to monitor lake levels to determine whether continued decreasing lake levels will require closing additional boat ramps on Lake Wylie," the company said Tuesday.
Duke said the remaining ramps at South Point and Buster Boyd could be closed by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation and York County Parks and Recreation also have closed boat ramps at Copperhead and Ebenezer access areas on Lake Wylie. And Mecklenburg has closed seven boat launches on Lake Norman, a spokesman said.
Even when ramps are closed, smaller hand-carried boats without motors are still permitted, Duke said.
Find the latest boat ramp closings on Duke Energy's website at https://www.duke-energy.com/community/lakes/recreation-information/recreation-sites-water-access
Stage 1 drought is still a lower-level alert, but many water systems in the area have begun asking users to voluntarily reduce water use. They include Charlotte Water, Union County, Hickory, Concord, Kannapolis, and Harrisburg.
Charlotte Water issued these recommendations Nov. 1:
- Only irrigate Tuesdays and Saturdays between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Limit landscape watering to one inch of water per week, including rain.
- Conserve water indoors and outdoors
- Refrain from outdoor water use during the day (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to reduce evaporation losses.
- Don't fill swimming pools, and only top off full pulls Thursdays and Sundays, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Turn off water fountains and other decorative water features.
- Use commercial car washes that recycle water, not your home hose.
And here's another interesting tidbit: The state Department of Agriculture has a Hay Alert website, for farmers who are facing shortages because of the drought, or damage from Hurricane Matthew. The site lets farmers connect with buyers/sellers and arrange transportation. State agriculture officials think it may be important this winter. http://www.ncagr.gov/hayalert/
LakeWyliePilot.com: It's getting harder to put boats in Lake Wylie. It could get worse by week's end.