Dripping faucet (copy) (copy)

Residents of Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns islands should skip watering their lawns and other non-essential uses of water, authorities said, as Charleston Water System works to fix a leak as far away as North Charleston. 

All three areas are served either directly or indirectly by St. Johns Water Co., which buys water from Charleston Water.

Colleen Schild, assistant manager for St. Johns Water, said the system was receiving a reduced flow from Charleston on Sunday and is asking customers to cut back so that everyone in the system has enough water until the main leak is repaired. 

By asking water users to cut back a little, Schild said, "We’re hoping that the customers don't see any differences in anything."

A corroded air valve blew off of a 48-inch main in North Charleston, creating a 6-inch hole in the pipe. Many in the Charleston area saw reduced water pressure and some reported discolored water coming out of their taps. 

Mike Saia, a spokesman for Charleston Water, said any pressure issues were resolved for customers as of 10 a.m. Monday. He also said that at no point was the water unsafe to drink, and that coloration came from the water utility's attempt to reroute water around the leaking main. 

In a few cases, the direction of water was reversed in the pipes, knocking loose mineral sediment that had built up over time, Saia said. Customers can clear any remaining dirty water in their system by running cold water for five minutes. 

"There was never an issue with water quality or water safety, and at no time was a boil water advisory considered," he said. "The water remained safe through all the activity on Monday and Sunday."

A temporary plug has been placed in the leaking main but contractors will work to fix it permanently over the next few days. 

In the meantime, Schild said customers on Kiawah, Seabrook and Johns islands need to conserve in case the volume delivered to St. Johns drops down again. The water customer is already playing catch-up from the reduced load it received on Sunday.

Emails sent to water customers on Kiawah and Seabrook and an advisory on St. Johns' website said customers should refrain from using non-essential water at least through the end of Tuesday. 

"We just want to be able to continue to keep up," Schild said. 

Reach Chloe Johnson at 843-735-9985. Follow her on Twitter @_ChloeAJ.