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Wake Forest Aims to Remedy Water Woes

Posted July 5, 2007

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— More people are moving to Wake Forest. That means more homes are tapping into the water system, and that is causing problems, according to town officials.

“The residents who are moving into our new subdivisions are using water at a higher rate than, say, the residents that were here 15 years ago,” said Deputy Town Manager Roe O’Donnell.

Wake Forest purchases its water from Raleigh. The town can draw up to 4.9 million gallons a day, but its daily use is closing in on that maximum. The problem is in-ground irrigation, officials said.

“I think it’s more of a regular to keep your grass watered more regularly. You can set it on a timer,” said Susanne Brown, a Wake Forest resident.

Town administrators said in-ground systems are used more frequently because they're on timers, and they're becoming a staple for new homes.

Wouldn’t so many new houses create more of a burden on the water supply? The town’s answer: Not under a new agreement with future developers.

“We have commitments from those developers not to use in-ground irrigation systems that are connected to potable water,” O’Donnell said. More than five developers have signed on for construction in Wake Forest with the town's new restrictions, officials said.

Homeowners also said they'll work with the town to address the problem.

“Conservation is important. We try to follow that, and I would assume everyone else is doing the same thing,” said resident Frank Murray.

Town officials also hope Raleigh's "even-odd" day restrictions will lessen the pressure on Wake Forest's water situation.

If the situation gets worse, the town might either stop issuing building permits or buy additional water capacity from Raleigh.

Wake Forest is one of several suburban towns that Raleigh's water system serves. The others are Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wendell and Zebulon. All of those customers are under mandatory year-round water restrictions, too.


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  • luvtheoutdoors Jul 7, 2007

    that is TWO posts that were deleted - doesn't someone have anything better to do ?

  • Mike128 Jul 6, 2007

    Would be nice if they stopped planting cool season grasses that need watering all the time when it gets hot. I tried to get my builder to install Zoyzia instead of tall fescue. I offered to pay the difference in cost for the better sod, no dice. What a waste of water. There's people on our street that water 3 times a day to keep this stuff alive.

  • mep Jul 6, 2007

    Pleshy, you assume the property they purchase will get water.
    Just because you drill doent mean you get water. The county also regulates how much and how many can live off a well. So I'm not sure wells will be the answer.
    And then just because you can tax them (new homes) when they are built within the city limits is no guarante those taxes will cover things like road improvements and schools. Unles you ae suggesting higher taxes for everyone to cover infrastructure for home permits beyond WF's ability to provide services?

    Fact: Right here and now, there are too many permits being issued in Wake Forest with too little water from Raleigh. On top of that there is too much traffic for the current roads, and school space is also limited. I say... stop the permits and let them build somewhere else.

  • pleshy Jul 6, 2007

    I think you miss the point. The people are coming regardless, and they will buy property. Assuming this to be the status quo, it is a pareto superior outcome for the established citizenry to force these new folks to pay taxes and fees within the city limits and add additional revenue to pay for services they use than to allow the building to occur in areas that cannot be taxed by a minicipality but will still use some or a majority of the same resources.

    But you go on and stop the permits and you will find out just how bad it can get with water when a new extra territorial neighborhood drops a well for 3000 houses and drains all the water out of the Wake water supply with no taxes or fees going to the municipalities suffering from overcrowded "fill in the blank space for services here."

  • Brick Tamland Jul 6, 2007

    Yeah, all those new developments are really supporting Wake County now with the overcrowded schools and roads, and water shortages.

  • pleshy Jul 6, 2007

    It isn't "someone else's roads" or "someone else's water" or someone else's anything. The ETJ is the extra territorial jurisdiction. It is the little bubble where a muni has control, but can't tax. It isn't generally very far from the city/town limits. The water will all come from the same water table. You aren't "creating" new water just by sinking a well. Moreover, the roads all get dedicated to the city or state, depending on where they are, and the DOT or muni takes over the maintenence, on the taxpayers dime. The folks all have to eat and work, and guess where they go, on the roads, they just drive an extra five minutes to where you are.

    However, if you allow the city to allow the bulding in the ETJ or in the city limits, then the developments at least add to the muni tax base, and they can support WF instead of really living taking advantage of the taxpaying residents.

  • mep Jul 6, 2007

    Pleshy.... I would love for those developers to move their plans somewhere else, sink wells, and suck out other peoples water. Those same developers can then deal with building new roads, schools, and all the infrastructure that is waaay over used already here in Wake Forest. Despite what the town council believes, Wake Forest can not handle the growth they keep approving. We don't have the water, we don't have the roads, and we don't have the schools. No more permits until we solve the other problems!

  • pleshy Jul 6, 2007

    Just stop issuing building permits. Oh yeah, That'll stop the problem. Then the developers will merely move to the other side of the ETJ line, put up there 1200 houses, sink a really big well, suck all the water out of Jordan, pay no taxes to the muni and say "stick it in your ear" to all you slobs complaining about, well basically, everything that comes with being a successful place to live.

  • cat976 Jul 6, 2007

    PLEASE stop issuing permits!!!! We have enough people here already.

  • Arkansas Razorback Jul 6, 2007

    I see a lot of Communitys under development that are watering grass before anyone even lives there.