Local News

Despite Rain, Raleigh Still Under Mandatory Water Restrictions

Posted November 21, 2005

— Monday's steady rain will not wash away Raleigh's water worries, but will likely prevent the city from going to stricter water restrictions anytime soon. Meanwhile, a city task force is set to debate on a water conservation proposal that would keep some restrictions in place year-round.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said Tuesday that consumption is down and the level at Falls Lake, Raleigh's main water source, was increasing some. As of noon Monday, the lake level was up to about one-tenth of a foot.

But Dale Crisp, public utilities director, said that despite the rainfall, the city would stay under Stage 2 water restrictions. Under Stage 2 water restrictions, city water customers can only water lawns twice a week. Violators face a $200 fine for the first violation; a $1,000 fine for the second violation; and face having their water shut off after a third violation.

Falls Lake is about 8½ feet below normal. Last week, city leaders were predicting a worst-case scenario that only 3 percent of Raleigh's drinking water would be left by the end of January.

Monday's forecast called for Raleigh to receive about 2 inches of rain.

"I am hopeful we are seeing a change in the weather pattern here that will get us back to normal conditions," Crisp said.

But what if the rain does not fall?

Raleigh's Water Conservation Task Force will debate year-round water restrictions -- similar to what Cary has had in place since 2000 -- in December and likely make a recommendation to the City Council. Cary's year-round restrictions have helped cut water consumption by 8 percent per person. Its goal is 20 percent by 2015.

Allen thinks flooding people with education makes more sense. He does not support year-round water conservation measures.

"I think it does add to the value of our community and I think people should voluntarily be able to decide how they use that critical resource when they are willing to pay for it," Allen said.

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