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Raleigh Cracks Down on Water Hogs

Posted August 28, 2007

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— On the first day of tighter water conservation measures, Raleigh officials cited eight homeowners Tuesday for violations – each of which carries a $200 fine.

The city implemented Stage 1 water restrictions to cut into the area's seemingly unquenchable thirst for water in the face of a deepening drought across the state.

"These rules limit the way all of us use water," Mayor Charles Meeker said at a news conference to emphasize the need for the tougher rules.

Despite mandatory water restrictions put in place at the beginning of July, water use has spiked in recent weeks during a heat wave that sent temperatures soaring into triple digits for several days. On Aug. 9, Raleigh broke its record for one-day water consumption by using 77 million gallons.

The average daily consumption for August has been about 65 million gallons, and Meeker said he hopes the new restrictions will drop that to about 55 million gallons. Personal efforts to conserve water inside the house also would help cut daily consumption, he said.

"Whether it be shorter showers, only running dishwashers when they're full and otherwise conserving water, everyone understands the importance of this," Meeker said.

City officials will continue to monitor daily water consumption and levels at Falls Lake, the city's primary reservoir, in the coming weeks before determining whether even tougher regulations are needed, Meeker said.

One such year-round limit would be implementing water rates based on usage, he said.

"The question is how much of a rate change is required and how much of an effect it really has," he said.

The system's top five water users are North Carolina State University, state government offices, amino acid maker Ajinomoto USA, Wake County government offices and Pepsi Bottling Ventures, according to the Raleigh Public Utilities Department. Combined, they use more than 3.7 million gallons of water a day – more than the total alloted to customers in Rolesville and Zebulon.

The Stage 1 restrictions include the following:

  • Sprinkler systems can be used only between midnight and 10 a.m. on Tuesday (odd-number addresses) or Wednesday (even-number addresses).
  • Hoses with sprinklers can be used only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday (odd-number addresses) or Wednesday (even-number addresses).
  • Hand-held watering can be done on the same times and days as sprinklers, as well as during those times on Saturday (odd-number addresses) or Sunday (even-number addresses).
  • Cars can be washed only on weekends, although commercial car washes will be allowed to operate seven days a week.
  • Power-washing homes, sidewalks or driveways can be done only on weekends, although commercial services will be allowed to operate as normal.

"We're also restricting the hours on your assigned day, when you can irrigate and there's even a little differentiation on the method you use to irrigate with," Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp said.

The rules also apply to customers in Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon, all of which buy water from Raleigh.

City workers from various departments will be patrolling the streets to assist Raleigh's three code enforcement officers check for water scofflaws, said Ed Buchan, a water conservation specialist with the Public Utilities Department.

No more warnings will be given for violations, officials said. A first violation of the rules is a $200 fine and a second is $1,000. A third will result in water service being shut off.

262 Comments

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  • shecares Aug 29, 2007

    SeeNoNemo----- Don't wear underwear and you can save wash water and have more for your grass. GOD BLESS YOU.

  • nisa-pizza Aug 29, 2007

    getrealpeople, Just going by all of the news reports earlier this week. The media stated that on the air on Sunday or Monday.

  • harbourwoman Aug 29, 2007

    Has it occured to anyone that our water usage is up because we have more people now living here? Take that increased number of people compared to last year and divy it out with the gallons of water use. Personally, I don't water my lawn. I might hand water a few plants. For the first time in 15 years I finally pressured washed part of my home earlier this year. I try to use the gray water well. And I try to be careful with the dishwasher and other usage because of $$ already.

    I think as the area continues to want growth some forethought needst go into how many people can the area truly support?

    Watering of lawns is tough.. How about making it ONE day week and less hours for goodness sake.

    :)

    Cheers!

  • getrealpeople Aug 29, 2007

    nissa-pizza
    Raleigh getting water from Cary. lol. No way, Cary which had a record demand day ~27mgd can supply Raleigh recent record demand of 77mgd enough to water the lawns in Raleigh. It's the peak demand of irrigation not building permits. Lack of rain & record demand= Falls Lake almost 5' below normal.

  • Kbo Aug 29, 2007

    William Tell - erosion and rodents are of little concern to me if I can't shower, drink water ect. Yes those things are nice to avoid, but when left to the choice of preventing them or having drinking water, most of us would take drinking water.

  • richard2 Aug 29, 2007

    Your restictions don't go far enough. Stop watering grass and washing cars. You need water to drink,bathe and flush. These 3 things are important when you don't have water. You can't live here without water, you will have to move where there is water.

  • cocker_mom Aug 29, 2007

    Anyone that gets a "warning" from their HOA to water their lawn or face fines or public execution , should scan it and send it to WRAL - they'd LOVE to interview the Mensa member that signed that one and sent it out. After seeing the idiocy on the news, I suspect anyone that got a notification like that would get a second one asking them to conserve and abide by the latest round of restrictions.

    Anyone that would allow their HOA to intimidate them on this issue should look into buying a backbone.

  • William Tell Aug 29, 2007

    Waste water on grass??? seems that some people don't unerstand what the purpose of grass is. It is not just to look good. It stops erosion, deters rodents, etc. so yes, water your grass.

  • William Tell Aug 29, 2007

    Why waste time on drug dealers are other criminals, we need to use all resources to protect the water

  • Con Amor Aug 29, 2007

    They should stop all personal home lawn watering,day or night..It doesnt take much common sense to know that there is no need to have a green lawn if your dying of thirst and cant take a shower..Its fine to water vegtable gardens, but why waste water on grass?

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