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Raleigh Could Soon See Tighter Water Restrictions

Posted May 8, 2007
Updated May 9, 2007

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— Some Raleigh residents may have to tighten their tap as the city considers mandatory, year-round water restrictions.

Under a proposal approved Tuesday by the Raleigh Public Works Committee, residents with odd-numbered addresses could water their lawns only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Those with even-numbered addresses could water lawns on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. No watering would be allowed on Mondays.

The proposed restrictions would apply to water customers with automated and fixed irrigation systems. The restrictions would not apply to open-hose watering. However, once a sprinkler attachment is added, the restrictions would apply.

The plan would also affect the areas outside Raleigh that get water from the city, including Garner, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.

"If we get into a drought situation, which we've had several droughts over the last couple of years, then we'll go to even more restrictions after that," City Councilwoman Jessie Taliaferro said.

Those restrictions could include washing vehicles and the time of day that customers would be allowed to water lawns.

The proposed restrictions are modeled closely after the restrictions Cary put into place back in May 2000. Cary officials said there is no way to accurately gauge how much water is saved with the restrictions, but the limits spread out peak demand, which cuts down on the amount of water used.

Raleigh residents consume an average of 52 million gallons of water daily, with the number hitting 70 million gallons on a peak day.

"If you were to average (water usage) over the past five to six years, it's increased 3 percent each year," said Dale Crisp, the city's public utilities director.

Taliaferro said she expects the full council to approve the restrictions at its meeting next Tuesday. If the City Council approves the proposal, it would go into effect July 1.

Taliaferro said after a year, the City Council would look at the data, to make sure the measure is doing what it's supposed to do -- saving water.

The first violation of the new rules would be a warning. After that, there would be a $50 fine, and it would go up from there. If approved, there would be a public education campaign to help Raleigh water customers adapt to the change.

Mandatory water restrictions in Raleigh were lifted last May after a six-month period in which the city's main source of water, Falls Lake, dropped 8 feet below normal. The city has been under voluntary water restrictions since 2002.

Raleigh resident Sharon Bright said she doesn't mind mandatory water restrictions, but she said the city should look at what's draining the water supply

"(Watering) every other day is adequate, but I think the city needs to take up its own part and that is to restrict growth so we don't drain our reservoirs dry and then cry help," Bright said.

A task force last spring presented the City Council with numerous proposals for water conservation, including year-round limitations on watering regardless of reservoir levels. The study cited increasing population that will add demand regardless of rainfall.

The city broke ground last month on a new water-treatment plant south of Garner to bring water from Lake Benson into the system and raise capacity.


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  • tarheel1980 May 10, 2007

    The city council is listening to the wrong people. Permanent water restrictions make no sense. If Falls Lake is full, as it has been for months, water is dumped along it's natural path, the Neuse River. This water eventually ends up in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Saving water now accomplishes nothing. There is no where to save the water we are not using now. To listen to the argument from those in favor of the ban, we can save the water that we are not using now and use it later. There is no such storage facility. When the lake is full, all the extra is dumped into the ocean. Why shouldn't the taxpayers be able to use it? Wouldn't that generate more revenue for the city?

    There is apparently some element in the city government that wants to control water use for a reason that I do not understand. I do understand that they could damage my property for no good reason!

  • smegma May 10, 2007

    No rain, grass turns brown. Been here since the beginning of time. Quit yer whining and be glad you have drinking water

  • superman May 10, 2007

    Not enough schools, not enough water, the roads are overcrowded, no transit system. This area a great place to live and we have to pay companies to come here? I am so confused.

  • In the Clover May 9, 2007

    The current recommendations require keeping a detailed calendar. Most people aren't going to do this over a long period of time. Also, enforcing water conservation rules takes time away from city inspectors who have more important things to look after. The best way to encourage water conservation is this: everyones' average monthly water usage over the past few years can easily be determined by mining the information in past billing statements. If a user exceeds their monthly average than the water rates go through the roof. A big water bill is the best enforcement tool. No inspectors required.

  • ncboy May 9, 2007

    good thing i have a garage with drainage so that i can wash my car in secret

  • Myword May 9, 2007

    Not to worry, Judge Howie is going to ban water being piped to year-round schools!

  • Bigguns May 9, 2007

    lol@ this honkies nutts! That was too funny. Baby, I'm all for it if it will keep me out the hot sun all summer.

  • kidsrn May 9, 2007

    exactly how are we going to "save" water when evaporation will deplete it as well as the fact that the dams and lakes can only hold a finite amount??

    gatsby----that's exactly how I recycle my water too! :-)

  • Bigguns May 9, 2007

    Sorry Dr J... I said I wasn't any kind of rocket scientist now. I just got the BS (bull----)degree, maybe I'll go for my MS (more----) one day but I am not as smart as you with the Dr. I ain't gonna be a PhD (Piled High & Deep)

  • seeingthru May 9, 2007

    hmmm let me see finite water supply+ every happy idiot in the nation moving here+ uncontrolled development= water restriction do us all a favoor and go back to where you belong you have ruined this area!