Local News

Green Industry Sees Red Over Proposed Raleigh Water Restrictions

Posted June 17, 2003

— With all the recent rain, it is hard to get worked up about water restrictions -- unless those restrictions affect your bottom line.

Growers and landscapers are demanding more of a say in Raleigh's new water policies.

The green industry is seeing red over new suggestions for saving water. A city task force is recommending that Raleigh residents water their lawns just twice a week.

If restrictions are approved, landscapers and growers say customers won't buy plants they can't water. They're afraid business will wither away under the restrictions.

"Someone recently likened it to telling a soda company they can bottle all they soda they want, but they can't sell it to anybody," said Doug Chapman, a wholesale grower.

The industry launched a preemptive strike on City Hall Tuesday. Growers and landscapers stood at the City Council meeting to show the strength of their numbers. They want city leaders to consider policies that won't put them out of business.

Deborah Harvey is the only landscaper on the Conservation Task Force.

"Instead of determining policies first," Harvey said, "they have instead decided to write ordinances."

That may change. City officials said they will give the green industry a greater voice in creating conservation policies.

"What we want is water conservation in best practices," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "So, on one hand, we're not wasting water. But on the other hand, we're doing something that makes sense."

City leaders hope to find that balance by late summer or early fall.

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