Local News

Raleigh, Durham Forced To Tighten Water Restrictions

Posted June 26, 2002

— The cities of Raleigh and Durham joined other North Carolina cities Wednesday by imposing mandatory water restrictions.

Raleigh officials said the city's drinking source, Falls Lake, had fallen to 248.59 feet, the lowest level recorded during the last week of June, said officials, who have monitored the lake's level for 15 years.

Officials said since voluntary conservation measures were enacted June 10, water use has been at an all-time high.

Wednesday, the Raleigh City Council approved

mandatory water restrictions

that take effect immediately.

Residents caught violating the restrictions face fines of $500 per day. Citations will be not be issued until 8 a.m. July 1.

The mandatory measures for Raleigh include:

  • Watering of property, both residential and non-residential, no more than once every other day and only on the day assigned for the property. Properties with addresses ending with an odd number may irrigate on odd calendar dates. Properties with addresses ending with even number may irrigate only on even calendar dates.
  • No filling of private individual residential swimming pools, either new or existing. No replenishing of any filled private pools, except to the essential minimum to operate chemical feedign equipment.

  • No water may be added to any decorative fountain, pool or pond.
  • No washing of motor vehicles, except at commerical establishments.
  • No washing of outside areas such as sidewalks, patios, driveways and other impervious surfaces.
  • Raleigh residents also are asked not to ignite fireworks, which are a concern with the approaching July 4th holiday.

    Raleigh officials said the situation is bad, but there is not any need to panic.

    "Of course, it is going to rain again and the drought would end," Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker said.

    In Durham, officials have also issued

    mandatory water conservation measures


    At the current consumption rate, city officials said Durham would run out of water in about three months.

    Lake Michie is 10.5 feet below full and the Little River reservoir is about nine feet below full level.

    According to the city of Durham, no person shall:

  • Water lawns, grass, trees, shrubbery, flowers, golf greens or vegetable gardens except between 5 p.m. and midnight on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Introduce water into wading pools or swimming pools except to the extent necessary to replenish losses due to evaporation or spillage, and maintain operation of chemical feed equipment.
  • Use water to wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, or for other similar purposes.
  • Introduce water into any decorative fountain, pool or pond except where the water is recycled.
  • Serve water in a restaurant or similar establishment except upon request.
  • Use water for any unnecessary purpose or intentionally waste water.
  • Wash the exterior of a motor vehicle except where a private well system is used, or where 50 percent percent of the water is recycled or where it can be demonstrated that 30 gallons or water or less are used to wash the vehicle.
  • One business in Durham claims it is prepared for the city's mandatory restrictions. The Durham Ritz Touchless Car Wash has a new wash system that only uses 30 gallons of water per car, which falls within the city's restrictions.

    However, some places that do not need to worry about water restrictions are feeling the hit.

    A nursery in Apex has about 50,000 plants to water and, at best, a few weeks of water left because their irrigation pond is running dry. Officials said if they do not get a lot of rain soon, the nursery will have to truck the plants somewhere to be watered.

    Hillsborough and the Orange-Alamance water systems already have mandatory water restrictions in place.

    Orange County has requested voluntary conservation from its customers.


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