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Lawn Watering Leads to Spikes in Demand

Posted September 13, 2007

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— Despite repeated warnings, almost 200 homeowners have been cited for violating Raleigh's water restrictions in the last three weeks. Three have been caught twice, meaning they're on the hook for $1,200 in fines.

Two of the repeat violators are in the Bedford at Falls River subdivision off Falls of Neuse Road in north Raleigh. The third is in Garner.

Residents have been so eager to report sprinkler scofflaws that they have clogged up 911 lines, officials said, adding that non-emergency lines should be used.

The Stage 1 water restrictions implemented on Aug. 28 have cut the average daily demand by about 13 percent, said Dale Crisp, Raleigh's public utilities director.

"We are pleased we have done the reduction. It would have been great had we been able to achieve the 20 percent reduction the governor was calling for statewide," Crisp said, adding there are no plans to implement even stricter water limits in the near future.

But consumption continues to spike on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the only days residents are allowed to use sprinklers on their lawns, he said. Almost 30 percent of water used on those days is going to lawns, he said.

The average daily demand on non-watering days is about 50 million gallons, but that demand rises to about 70 million gallons on watering days, officials said.

"I think they are probably putting out as much as they can during that period of time," said Charles Peacock, a professor of crop science at North Carolina State University.

Because they have only one chance per week to water, many homeowners are overwatering, Peacock said. He suggested people measure the amount of water dispensed by their sprinkler or automated system and cut it off after the lawn has received an inch of water.

Even with the cutbacks, homeowner John Garrett said he thinks people in Raleigh use too much water on their lawns.

"I think that's too much, especially with no prognosis of anything coming" in terms of rain, Garrett said.

24 Comments

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  • common_sense_plz Sep 14, 2007

    I guess when we all run out of water to use to sustain our lives, have clean clothing and our children cannot drink from the water fountain at school and such because the water will have run out, maybe then the people of wake county will learn. But you will have a lush green lawn, while the students, you and others will have no water at all. You people may not realize this but HUMAN LIFE COMES FIRST OVER YOUR LAWN. Many of us would really appreciate it if you would please think about our children in school who need that water after recess and in between classes....Let your grass die, and next year get a drout tolerant grass, instead of using life essential water.

  • WFrules Sep 14, 2007

    jeebk04: Read what Ed said... We're doing fine and I'm following the rules when we can water!

  • WFrules Sep 14, 2007

    We are still doing well, no need to worry folks. Don't stress out!
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    We are pleased we have done the reduction. It would have been great had we been able to achieve the 20 percent reduction the governor was calling for statewide," Crisp said, adding there are no plans to implement even stricter water limits in the near future.
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  • jeebk04 Sep 14, 2007

    This is getting better. The number of posters that actually agree with conserving water and helping out is getting better. Hopefully, we won't get any long posts from any of our resident know it alls on why we don't need to conserve.

  • SonODuncan Sep 14, 2007

    No, psychobabble. According to the letter from the city that I keep on my fridge, the third violation is interruption of water supply. $1,200 is what it costs for two offenses - $200 first time and $1,000 second time.

  • not pc Sep 14, 2007

    grass over drinking water, now thats just stupid. calling 911 to report abusers,dumb. not conserving selfish and stupid. people we all have to help or ower land value will go down.not to mention we will dehydrate.

  • auklet8718 Sep 13, 2007

    Don't water anything outside you aren't going to eat (pets excluded of course, water but don't eat them). Follow this rule and you'll be fine.

  • 581C Sep 13, 2007

    Let the grass die. Grow up for once. It is grass, that is all, just grass. In case you have not noticed we are in an extreme drought and the area's infrastructure (water supply included) is already over-burdened due to the influx of transplants. The deterents do work for most people.. you will always have a few folks that feel like the laws do not apply to them.. like the speeders on the beltline. That is just inevitable, doesn't mean deterents should not be done. Get over your conspiracy theories. They are ridiculous.

  • johnnyboy Sep 13, 2007

    "I don't know about you, but that would make me want to do it even LESS."

    finally, someone who almost gets it.
    You are in the minority. The fines are SUPPOSED to deter.
    BUT, this isn't the point of the post.
    The point is that we are being fleeced by greedy politicians for personal gains.

  • poohperson2000 Sep 13, 2007

    I don't know about you, but that would make me want to do it even less.. I guess you Raleigh fools have money to burn on nothing. Me I prefer to get something more than green grass for my money. Geez, there are also people in this world that have never had speeding tickets..

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