HOLLY SPRINGS — Holly Springs residents headed to the polls Tuesday and overwhelmingly passed an $8 million bond to pay for water.
The money will build a pipeline to pump two million more gallons of water a day toHolly Springs.
This is not the first water shortage that Holly Springs residents have faced, but town leaders looked to voters and a neighboring town for a long-term solution.
The town is so desperate for water that residents cannot water their lawns, andbuilders cannot startnew construction. The town's Chamber of Commerce spent $5,000 promoting the $8 million water bond.
"'Yes' -- 948, 'No' -- 35, we have water," said Peter Atwell, president of the Chamber of Commerce. "We're in a serious water restriction situation here. We need water for our current population and to attract growth."
The money from the bond will be used to build a pipeline to the Harnett County water treatment plant.
Just three years ago, the plant could not treat enough water for Harnett County alone. "The problem was not with water supply, we have adequate water supply in the Cape Fear River," says Rodney Tart, director of Harnett County Public Utilities. "The problem at that time was just not enough plant capacity."
The plant's capacity has since been increased from three million gallons a day to 12. By early next year, it will be up to 18 million gallons a day. Harnett County only needs about one-third of that amount.
Two million gallons a day will be pumped to Fuquay-Varina, and there will be plenty left over to send the same amount to Holly Springs, if the town has the money to build a pipeline to get it there.
"It'll determine the future of the town of Holly Springs, and the amount of growth that we can have, and just what we can have for the town right now," said town commissioner Tim Sack before the vote.
Unfortunately, the water bond will not solve the problem in the short term. The pipeline is still a few years down the road. The town is looking to expand contracts with other water sources in the meantime.
Some Holly Springs residents were afraid what might have happened if the water bond did not pass.
"It would be nice not to have the fear of running out of water all the time," said resident Jennifer Sasser. "Last summer, they told us that they were within a few hours of cutting all of the water off, and that's kind of scary."
The bond money also allows Holly Springs to become part owner of the Harnett plant, with the potential to eventually pump in 9.5 million gallons of water each day.
"We don't have to worry about where we are getting our water from," says town commissioner Hank Dickson. "We don't have to rely on other towns to provide us with the water."
Town leaders say this is a long-term solution, and with the potential they have for expansion, it will also take care of their water in the future.