Local Politics

Lawmakers Eye Regulating Well Users

Posted February 26, 2008

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— State lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require homeowners and businesses that use private wells to report on how much water they consume.

A special legislative committee is expected to present a list of ideas to Gov. Mike Easley, who could push for drought legislation on various fronts during the General Assembly's short session, which begins in May.

About 40 percent of North Carolina residents use private wells, and their water use is an unknown variable for state officials trying to develop accurate models to manage water resources during the ongoing drought.

State Rep. Bill Faison, D-Orange, said lawmakers are considering fining well owners if they don't report their water usage. But he said he recognizes that calculating that consumption might be hard for many people, noting he had three wells on his Orange County farm.

"Everyone wants to do their part for water conservation, but I don't have any idea what the water consumption rate is in our home," Faison said.

Grady Poole's family has dug wells for decades, and he said many of his customers put wells in specifically to keep the government out of their lives.

"They want to rely only on themselves and not have to depend on government to take care of them," Poole said. "If you have a private well, you should be able to use it at your discretion – when you want it, how you want it."

But Georgiann Fonte, who gets her water through Raleigh's municipal system and has had to curb her gardening because of tight water restrictions, said regulating well users is a matter of fairness.

"All of us have to conserve. If we don't, we may not have drinking water or bathing water," Fonte said. "I would think they'd want to conserve just for the fact they won't want their wells to run dry."


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  • silverado32 Feb 29, 2008

    Only thing I got to say is send the FINES on because i'm not monitoring what i use. It is a private well. I pay for my electric bill for the pump and treat my water accordly. The government has done nothing for me. Sharpen your pencials because i'm not paying.

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Feb 28, 2008


    Of course your flowers and grass are dead; It's frekin' February.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Feb 28, 2008

    Rocknhorse, don't get me wrong, I TOTALLY agree that metering and regulating people with wells is beyond stupid. I understand that people with wells have paid a lot of money to have them dug and to maintain them and don't the government interfering.

    My post was referring to such comments as:

    "Unlike city dwellers who have got to have that green grass. I have to pick and choose what we wash as far as clothing, and how often I wash. We know how to conserve, unlike city dwellers."

    Us city swellers are not outside splashing around in our pools, with sparkling clean cars and pretty flowers. As I said, my grass and my plants are dead, as are my neighbors' and our cars are filthy unless we take them to an allowable car wash. We know perfectly well how to conserve water and are doing so.

  • MoroccoMole Feb 27, 2008

    Once again they seek to regulate what they do not understand. Probably because some folks got ticked off that some Wake County residents with money to burn were having wells drilled to keep their yards green.

    Fact: 'Real' well users (those of us beyond the municipal pipes) conserve. We have to. We always have. Irrigating a lawn is something I would never consider.
    Fact: Volume alone means little. My 310' well draws water from one supply, my neighbor's 60' well from another.
    Fact: We are not draining the lakes. Especially those of us with deep wells. Not a credible claim.

    Not-Fact: Despite all of this, it's 'just not fair' that I am not under municipal restrictions. Guess what? I could feel it's 'just not fair' that the municipal customers have water when I lose power or have a pump fail. Poor me. My local muni owes me a pipeline or a tanker truck. NOT!

    A little understanding BEFORE trotting out random ideas to appeal to voters is responsible politics - oh wait...

  • Rocknhorse Feb 27, 2008

    "So all of you country dwellers can get off of your high horses thinking you're the only ones conserving water. We all are."

    This discussion stems from the fact that City users are upset b/c they are having to conserve, yet they see well users not being "restricted" equally. The reason that well users are not facing the same restrictions is b/c, for the most part, they conserve all the time, drought or not. Also, the water they bring up from the ground gets recycled back into that same ground, therefore it is recycled and not consumed.

    This is not the case for City water customers. The water consumed is NOT recycled back to it's original location. THAT is why Falls Lake is down.

    It's not a 'high horse' that well users are on. Well users know that when the well runs dry, it's THEIR responsibility. It's those who think b/c THEY are being restricted for their choices, then EVERYone should be equally restricted, regardless of logic. They are on a high horse.

  • cbarnett Feb 27, 2008

    And this will help put water back in Falls Lake?

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Feb 27, 2008

    Although I live in the city, I totally sympathize with the well owners and I am sure that you know that conserving water is in your own best interests and that if you run yourself out of water, you're in big trouble.

    But I would also like to say that I am one of those "city slickers" and I and all of my neighbors have dead plants, dead grass and filthy cars. I take military showers, wash my dishes by hand and abide by the toilet flushing "rule". So all of you country dwellers can get off of your high horses thinking you're the only ones conserving water. We all are.

  • ncgrl231us Feb 27, 2008

    I agree with Colliedave. I think all these folks are asking for is trouble. They should have thought about all this before they try to put everyone on the city/county water systems.

    The government did not pay for digging our wells and again that is why we have private wells. It is none of the government's business about our wells.

  • raglangr Feb 27, 2008

    It's none of the government's business how much well water I use from MY well.

  • colliedave Feb 27, 2008

    I think that it might be time to bear arms.

    Considering the government intrusion, it's time to arm bears.