By Makala Chapman 
BELLEVILLE – A seven-month drought advisory has been lifted for residents of Quinte West and surrounding areas.
The Lower Water Response Team, who are responsible for enacting or removing a drought advisory for the Lower Trent Conservation, made the decision to lift the advisory early in February.
But it doesn’t mean there is not a potential for future problems. residents are urged to keep conserving water says Janet Noyes, manager of development services and water resources.
“We would caution people to still be smart with their water usage at all times,” she said. “It’s a limited resource, and we should be appreciative of that.”
Unseasonably dry conditions in 2016 forced Lower Trent Conservation to declare a level one advisory back in June and a level two advisory in July. A level one advisory asks that residents reduce their water consumption by 10 per cent.
If a level two  advisory is enacted, residents are asked to bump that water conservation number up to 20 per cent.
The third and most extreme of the advisories is a level three , which may involve mandatory water use restrictions.
A level three advisory was put in place in September for portions of the Stirling-Rawdon and Centre Hastings area.
Groundwater levels have not returned to their normal state, but Noyes credits the warmer weather for helping melt the snow, which returned some precipitation back into the ground.
“Overall, in 2016, we got 766 ml of rain,” she said. “It was about 59 per cent of what we normally get.”
An average amount of precipitation for the region is 911 ml, said Noyes.
If this summer yields similar dry conditions, Noyes said there are certain precautions that residents can put in place to ensure they aren’t without water.
“Investigate some type of storage system,” she said. “In the future, if this happens again, they would then have a more secure water source.”
Jennifer May-Anderson, the communications manager at Quinte Conservation, said things are looking good from their end as well.
“Right now we are under no low-water warnings,” she said. “However, conditions have not returned to normal.”
May-Anderson said Quinte Conservation is still advising people who are on wells to use their water wisely and be aware of what they’re using.
Quinte Conservation had declared a level three  low water advisory back in August but lifted it the first month of 2017.
“People should take with them from this past summer’s experience that water is a precious resource and that we should use that resource wisely,” she said.
As for what people can do to conserve water in the winter, May-Anderson said it’s mostly ensuring that house pipes don’t freeze and burst.
“You may want to let your faucets drip while you’re asleep or not at home because that will help prevent the pipes from busting,” she said. “You’ll waste a lot more water from a gushing pipe than you would from this precaution.”
For tips on water conservation, click here .