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Lake Level, Water Use Both Fall in Raleigh

Posted October 11, 2007

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— Levels at Falls Lake, Raleigh's main water source, continued to drop over the past week, even as consumption decreased, officials said Wednesday.

Falls Lake was down to 39 percent of its total water capacity, leaving a 107-day water supply. That supply estimate assumes a worst-case scenario with no rainfall, Dale Crisp, Raleigh's public utilities director, said.

At 7.61 feet below normal, levels in Falls Lake are lower than they ever were during the 2002 drought.

Water customers have reduced their usage by 1.1 million gallons a day over the past week, but lawn watering remains the largest use of water, Crisp said. Consumption dips by 17.5 million gallons, or 35 percent, to 49.5 million gallons on days when irrigation is not allowed.

Water-code enforcers have cited 287 first-time violators and nine second-time violators since restrictions went into effect Aug. 28. The first citation carries a $200 fine, which increases to $1,000 for a second citation. A third can result in water service being terminated.

Crisp said the falling lake levels are due to the lack of rainfall. The Triangle is 8.46 inches behind for the year.

The National Weather Service is not forecasting significant rainfall through this coming week and projects no “drought busters” for the foreseeable future.

Almost all of North Carolina is classified as being in an exceptional drought.

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