Local News

No Good Water News in the Offing

Posted August 21, 2007

— Weather forecasters foresee no significant rain any time soon, and federal, state and local officials agreed Tuesday that they may be looking at choosing among distasteful options to keep a water shortage form turning critical.

The North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council met Tuesday to assess the drought situation. None of the officials representing an array of agencies had good news to share.

The bad news − little or no heavy, soaking rain in the offing − came officially from Jeff Orrock of the National Weather Service.

"If we don't experience a lot of heavy rainfall in the next six weeks, we could be in rough conditions for the fall, which is normally a dry time of the year," Orrock said. Short bursts of heavy weather like what blew through the Triangle Tuesday evening does not even make a dent in the drought, officials said.

The state needs 12 to 18 inches of rainfall to ease drought conditions, the kind or rain a tropical storm could bring. The developing La Niña global weather pattern does not favor that, however.

Falls Lake, which is Raleigh’s primary source, is down and going lower. In places, logs and rocks are beginning to poke through the surface in places where they normally are covered. The National Weather Service daily data showed the lake about 4 feet below normal on Tuesday morning.

Cities, which are the governments to whom residents look for water in their taps, may have to make tough choices. Half of the state is already under some kind of water conservation requirements.

In Raleigh, the rules could get tighter than the current odd-day, even-day restrictions on watering. Demand is rising rather than falling

"The city does not like to move to the point where we are having to mandate water-use habits,” Public Utilities Dale Crisp said. Officials have taken steps, however, to be ready to move to the next stage or restrictions if conditions do not improve. That could include one-day-per-week watering during certain hours and car-washing only on weekends.

"Right now, it does not look very promising," Terry Brown of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said of the outlook for rain.

The Corps, which controls the major area reservoirs, will have to restrict releases from local lakes, including Falls Lake, while trying not to hurt downstream cities like Goldsboro that depend on the flow.

"We really need some long-term rainfall," Orrock said.


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  • rc4nc Aug 22, 2007

    We live in paradise on earth and all I hear are complaints. Yes, we're in a drought, there have been worse ones and there will be others. I'm expecting things to get a lot more crowded in the future. Seems this area was 3rd on the list for growth in the US, our direct competition was Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, one thing we have in plenty that those areas don't have is WATER. All of their water has to be piped in from hundreds of miles away. I'm thankful I don't live in a desert. Stop watering the grass, when it rains it will turn green again. Someone once told me, "at the end of every drought, there comes a good rain"

  • WTFmph Aug 22, 2007

    Okay so let's issue lots more building permits; sounds like a plan to me, NOT.

    Did anyone notice from a recent WRAL article that almost twice as many immigrants (mostly illegal) have swelled our ranks as citizens from other states since 2000? This majority is not moving into Prestonwood and paying killer taxes. Instead they are demanding interpreters for schools, courts and law enforcement. They are draining our water, but also many other resources.


    Have fun sniffing each other's exhaust fumes as you are trapped in gridlock wasting millions of gallons of gasoline and millions of man-hours of time thanks to your politicians who are firmly in the fat cat developer's pockets! :)

  • Skepticghoul Aug 22, 2007

    Sure, let's take regulation away from local governments! Of course private, for-profit companies will not gouge consumers during drought conditions; they will always play fair, those fair market forces. Sure, they'll invest with everyone else in mind and insure great water quality for generations to come. Companies always put safety and quality before profit. I mean, just look at those neat for profit companies in China. Great, safe products and unrestrained capitalism at it's best.

    Hahahaha! That idea has to be the best laugh I've had all year! LOL!

  • Darren Aug 21, 2007

    I'm going to show my ignorance of how water is handled. Why don't the municipalities simply have floating (pardon the pun) water rates that go way up during shortages and fall again when there's plenty of water?

    More to the point, why don't we take the power to provide water (especially as a monopoly) away from governments? Let market forces determine who owns and supplies water and what it costs. Imagine the incentive (profit-based) that private water providers would have to come up with new water sources (like rain water reclamation, sea water desalination, etc). And imagine the incentive (saving money) us consumers would have to find new ways (with the help of profit-seeking entrepreneurs) to conserve water.

    Am I missing something here?

  • migsander Aug 21, 2007

    This is what happens when you build houses on top of each other just so that you can make a buck!

  • this is not mexico Aug 21, 2007

    Correct, way oversold it's water supply capacity. They wanted a melting pot well look's like washington got what it wanted. I just thank it is back-firing on them. yea everyboby move here thanks alot.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 21, 2007

    The problem is that Raleigh has oversold it's water supply capacity.

  • Iworkforaliving Aug 21, 2007

    I still want to know why there is water running over the top of the concrete divider that has some bushes in it between wake forest rd and six forks on the beltline. It seems like every morning I see it running over the side of the barriers. If there is an irrigation system, why is it even there? DROUGHT?? Who gives a flip if the bushes in the median are green? I don't. If no irrigation system, then where is it coming from???????? It isn't the excessive rain we've had. Where's the water citation nazi's for this one?? Or maybe I'm seeing things again?

  • William Tell Aug 21, 2007

    Lets give the city planners a raise for not considering such things when approving all the urban sprawl