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Private Company Tightens Water Restrictions

Posted August 21, 2007

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— Thousands of residents in northern Wake County face tighter, new water restrictions - but not from their local or state government.

Aqua North Carolina, a private water company operating in 46 North Carolina counties, sent out letters to 3,800 customers in the Bayleaf community announcing the new restrictions would be enforced from Monday night.

The utility company received permission from the state to restrict lawn watering to twice a week for three hours each night. Customers will be allowed to water their lawns between midnight and 3 a.m. up to two times a week.

Those new restrictions have some Bayleaf residents concerned.

"Everybody has spent a great deal of money in these yards and landscaping, and now a lot of it's going to be pretty much damaged beyond repair," Ken Edwards, an Aqua North Carolina customer, said.

Demand from the neighborhood has been so high that the company has been forced to tap into storage tanks to keep the water flowing, Thomas Roberts, president of Aqua North Carolina said.

On average, customers in the neighborhood use 156,000 gallons of water each hour, enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, company officials said.

Residents said they've seen evidence of the strain that high demand has placed on their water system.

"You can sometimes get a dribble in the shower. The pressure goes down that low," Edwards said.

The new restrictions are intended to curb that demand and ensure that there's enough water to go around, Roberts said.

"The customers hold their destiny in their hands. If they are wise with irrigation practices, there will be plenty of water for domestic use," Roberts said.

The company plans to warn violators after a first offense, and then shut off their water after a second violation, Roberts said.

Under state law, private utilities must get permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission before shutting off service to a customer.

The restrictions permits lawn irrigation at odd-numbered addresses on Wednesday and Friday and at even-numbered addresses on Tuesday and Thursday. No irrigation is permitted on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but hand watering is allowed at all times.

Aqua North Carolina plans to end the restrictions by December.

Edwards said faced with those choices, he's already shut off his lawn irrigation system.

"There's a part of me that says I have to water my yard, but there's a part of me that says I also need water to take a shower and cook with, too," Edwards said.


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  • HangOn Aug 22, 2007

    Animallover, Landscapers aren't "snowing" anyone. Of course there's honest and dishonest folks in any business but they aren't pushing people to plant more. They responding to the demand of homeowners' for "instant gratification" and "keeping up with the Jones'". Many neighborhoods have minimums for the costs of plants that go in. Yes spring and Fall are great times to plant but it's really fine in summer too, IF plants can get the water they need in the early months after planting. Plants are going to be much happier in the ground, even in the heat of summer, rather than in a black pot above ground that needs even more water daily to keep from drying out. Native plants are fine but most people don't realize that 90% of the plants in the landscape aren't "native" but originated in similar climate and are not a problem to use. It only takes 1" of water a week for plants and grass. Watering once or twice a week is fine inmost cases.Most people are drowning their plants anyway.

  • Vietnam Vet Aug 21, 2007

    Unfortunately in most cases the grass of choice was chosen by the builder of the subdivision and for the most part they planted tall fescue which as we all know isn't drought resistant. With all the water issues we've had over the years why on earth do they still plant that stuff and not one of the drought resistant grasses???

  • auklet8718 Aug 21, 2007

    You can have a nice looking yard even without the need for a lot of irrigation if you choose the right grass and plants. If you choose to ignore native and more hearty species then you deserve to have your lawn fail. Drinking water should NEVER be used to water grass. PERIOD.

  • Run_Forrest_Run Aug 21, 2007

    @Beenthereonce - Great Idea (Water in bowl to wash hands - use for watering flowers, etc.)

    Here are some tips:
    Showers, turn water on and rinse. Turn water off. Wash your hair & body with water off. Turn water back on to rinse. Also - drop water pressure down to half. Reduces amount of water during showering. Baths - don't fill tub.

    Same with teeth brushing. Wet toothbrush, turn off water. Brush teeth, turn water on to rinse.

    Also - Make sure dishwashers and clothes washing machines are full capacity before washing. When hand washing dishes, run container of clear water in container and dip dishes in to rinse instead of running water.

    I'm trying to think what life was like for my GGrandparents. They had to 'tote' water in, or had a manual pump spigot to their well in kitchen / on porch. If you use water as if you had to tote it in the house....you'd be amazed at how much water you use, and how you can save water. :) Praying for rain!!

  • Run_Forrest_Run Aug 21, 2007

    Glad I'm still poor enough to just mow the lawn and put a few drought resistant bushes / plants in the flower beds. I don't landscape.

    For those who cry about not being able to keep their perfectly manacured lawns - find some recipes so you can cook and eat that grass. Water is much more important for survival (drinking, cooking,watering veggies, feeding livestock) and cleanliness.

    People's priorities are so screwed up these days.

  • sparrow Aug 21, 2007

    Water supplies are the next major item people will start warring over.
    Interesting how we don't seem to plan growth and consider carrying capacity of our roads, our schools, or our water. It's as though a bunch of different people meet in different rooms and never talk about what they decide with each other.

  • Been there once Aug 21, 2007

    I am on a well. When the waters gone...it's gone. No water to drink,no flushing toilets, showers, clean cloths. There are numerous ways to save water and still water plants. Hand watering uses less water. Put a pan in you sink and when you wash your hands or dish collect the water in the pan...flowers don't care if you washed in it first, infact soapy water keeps some bugs off the plants. If you had your own private well, you probably began conserving months ago.

  • TheBullCity Aug 21, 2007

    I've lived in NC my whole life and have never watered anything except indoor/sheltered potted plants. The grass in my apartment complex that isn't watered looks fine. Get a life people. The rates need to be changed so that rates for excessive usage go up exponentially.

  • kruck88 Aug 21, 2007

    I agree, that whole area should have building permits suspended till they get a handle on this situation!

  • raptor101 Aug 21, 2007

    laktyl1075 - that is probably the dumbest comment I ever read... its called managing a resource... resources are not infinite.. when it does not rain, it is the gov't job to protect resources