Local News

Water Woes Worry Officials

Posted December 2, 1998

— Parts of our state are in desperate need of rain. There are water restrictions in place in Hillsborough and parts of the Triad. What do the shortages mean for the Triangle?

The shallow end of Falls Lake is no longer under water. TheArmy Corps of Engineerssays the dry conditions have left Raleigh's water supply pool at 50 percent.

If the trend continues, the Army Corps of Engineers says the supply pool could be down to 28 percent at Falls Lake by January.

"Water supplies are getting critical around the area," said Lloyd Williams, the Army Corps of Engineers Operation Manger for Falls Lake. "Right now, according to our long term forecasts, we're not looking at any substantial rain. I believe it's critical in the next month at what type of rainfalls we get."

The city Utilities Director, Dale Crisp, says the next few weeks are critical.

They're not sounding the alarm yet, but if it stays dry, both the city and the Army Corps say there may have to be a discussion about if and when voluntary water conservation may be in order.

Lake Michie, Durham's water supply, is also dry.

Jordan Lake supplies water for Cary residents, and it too is shrinking quickly.

Jennifer Platt, Cary's water conservation specialist, says the low levels are of great concern. Platt is also concerned about residentswastingwater.

The concern is part of why the town's residents and businesses are required by law to have rain sensors on their irrigation systems.

When the sensors measure a quarter inch of rain, they'll keep the sprinkler system from turning on and wasting water.

Laura Carathanas patrols Cary's neighborhoods on foot, and in her truck, looking for the rain sensors.

Carathanas found that 1 in 4 homes with irrigation systems do not have the sensors, and are breaking the law.

"A lot of people don't realize there is an ordinance," Carathanas explains.

Carathanas says many people whodoknow about the ordinance assume the sensor was installed along with the irrigation system. Then they discover it wasn't.

Rain sensors can be purchased at home improvement stores for about $30.

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