Alabama Facing a Water Crisis

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Amy Stiftel-Sedlis, WBHM

University Laundrymat in Birmingham, AL


Nearly the entire state of Alabama is under the grip of a severe drought and Alabama is facing a water crisis. To date there’s no statewide mandate regarding water usage. However, some public water systems, including the Birmingham Water Works, have begun implementing their own drought conservation plans.  

Beginning November 19th, in order to continue supplying and meeting demands, the Birmingham Water Works will start charging residential customers and businesses an additional surcharge for excessive water use.

Local garden designer and landscaper Gloria Clemmensen is losing work and being hit hard, “We’re at a standstill as far as any new installations until we start getting rain. And Fall typically is a time for planting perennials, trees and shrubs. So it effects my income because I’m doing a lot less of what I would normally do in the autumn.”

Dan Jones, owner of University Coin Laundry, tells WBHM he has not yet been impacted, but knows how he will handle the uptick, If they hit me with a surcharge, certainly I don’t want that to happen, but it will have to drift down to the customers-cause that’s obviously who’s using the water, not me personally.”

Jones says he cares a lot about the water situation but can’t simply close on a weekday and risk losing business in order to save water.

As for Clemmensen, in order to supplement her income, she’s considering other seasonal work.

With little or no rain predicted anytime soon, drought officials say conditions are expected to worsen. Potential ramifications aren’t quite clear, but clearly have business owners thinking about their bottom line.


Earlier versions of this story referred to Gloria Clemmons. The correct spelling is Gloria Clemmensen. We regret the error.