MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Excessive heat and dry conditions in the Eastern Panhandle have prompted one water utility to ask its customers to conserve. “We ask that all customers use water wisely and avoid outdoor water use entirely,” according to the August 31st message from the Berkeley County Public Service Water District.

“The extended period of dry weather has resulted in a reduction of available water from the water source in the south end of the county. In response, the district has been pumping a great deal of water from the Potomac River Plant and moving it further south into the distribution system to meet demand. However, the ability to treat and distribute the water is limited,” according to the message from the water district.

“Even if we should receive substantial rain, it will take some time for the water source to benefit from the precipitation. The situation could deteriorate quickly if we continue to experience the prolonged dry spell,” according to the message.

The easternmost part of the Eastern Panhandle, particularly Berkeley and Jefferson Counties falls into “abnormally dry, moderate drought, or severe drought” status, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System  Website,  which says 78,200 West Virginia citizens are living in drought conditions currently, up nearly 122 percent from the previous month’s report.

In August, 2.41 inches of rain fell in the Martinsburg area, according to the National Weather Service.  1.76 inches of rain fell during one 24-hour period last month in the Martinsburg area, according to the NWS.