Folks in water conservation try to avoid using the dreaded D word, instead opting for a gentler term such a rainfall-challenged, moisture-deficient or just plain dry. But the fact is, we are in a drought and it’s a severe one.The driest year on record in this area according to our database was 1954 with a total annual rainfall of 8.67”. From January to the end of July in 1954, the total was 4.79”. In 2011, the area we monitor with the lowest rainfall total is Lohn. As of the end of July, the total was 4.08”. Another rain gauge we monitor just south of Brady has recorded 4.28” so far this year. In other words, 2011 is becoming the driest year on record. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center expects the drought will persist or worsen throughout the end of October.http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/drought_assessment.shtmlThe District measures almost 200 wells and has permanent monitors 17 other wells. We also refer to monitor wells maintained by the TWDB. Recent data shows there is drawdown in the Hickory Aquifer, but that drawdown varies from site to site. While several area municipalities have enacted watering restrictions, area residents can take the initiative and implement water saving strategies on their own. The District has a display case loaded with resources to this end. Just drop by and pick up a flyer. We have publications covering everything from agricultural water conservation practices to top tips for saving water around the house to water conservation coloring books for children. One of the most obvious areas in which water is wasted is outdoor use. According the TWDB, in the summer outdoor water use can account for 50 to 80% of home water use. Here are a few quick tips:· Try to keep grass around three inches tall. · Mucho Mulcho – Mulch one to three inches.· Turn it down, don’t drown – water about 1 inch every five days for most grasses. To measure, use a clean cat food or tuna can. We emphasize clean cat food cans or you’ll have new pets.· Because you can lose as much as 60% of water to evaporation when watering in the heat of the day, water in the early morning or evening hours. Also avoid water on windy days.For more information, visit our website at www.hickoryuwcd.org and click on the Links page or drop by the office to looking through our freebies. We’re located on the north-east side of the Brady square.