Local News

Raleigh Water Restrictions Unlikely To Go Away Anytime Soon

Posted March 14, 2006

— The city of Raleigh's mandatory water restrictions are working, city leaders say, but now is not the time to lift the conservation measures.

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    This comes at the same time that it seems the public is becoming weary of the restrictions, which limit what days city water customers can water their lawns and prohibit washing vehicles except at local car washes.

    Letters expressing frustration are being sent to City Council members as well as to local newspapers. Despite the letters, leaders say the mandatory measures could be around for a while.

    Falls Lake, Raleigh's main water supply, is only 81 percent full, and with spring and summer fast approaching, when more water is typically consumed, leaders worry about future water shortages.

    "The reality is we're about to start the summer, and the lake is not full," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. "And the forecasts call for more drought, and frankly, we're concerned."

    Meeker says that now is not the time to lift the water restrictions, even though water management officials admit to WRAL that they are not enforcing the restrictions as tightly as they did when they first enacted them. They say they don't have to because people are obeying the rules.

    "The water restrictions are not perfect, but they have resulted in a drop of water consumption by 25 to 30 percent," Meeker said.

    And while some frustrated homeowners say the city should stop selling water to other towns in the county, Meeker says that wouldn't necessarily save water.

    "There would be less water in the Neuse River, and the Corps of Engineers would release more water from Falls Lake, and so it would be the same result if they got it from us, or if they treated it themselves."

    A committee will meet Tuesday to assess the area's long-term water plans and come up with ways to pay for the inevitable improvements to the system. The committee will then present its plan to Wake County commissioners at the end of May.

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