Local News

Durham Makes Water Restrictions Mandatory

Posted September 17, 2007

— Water restrictions will be mandatory in Durham from Friday, with the goal of cutting daily demand by 20 to 30 percent, the city manager announced on Monday.

City officials asked residents to begin conservation efforts immediately and change their water usage habits before the city begins enforcing water restrictions on Friday.

All businesses are also ordered to reduce water consumption, preferably by 30 percent, and to document their efforts to do so.

"It is critical that our customers follow these mandatory water restrictions to ensure that there is an adequate supply of water for all," Durham City Manager Patrick W. Baker said. “We need to significantly decrease our daily water usage and our customers play a vital role in making sure we achieve this goal.”

Amid a parching statewide drought, stream flows into the two lakes from which Durham draws it water are well below expected levels. Water levels at both Little River Lake and Lake Michie have declined to 12.7 feet below normal.

The conservation restrictions stipulate that customers will:

  • Not watering of lawns, grass, trees, shrubbery, flowers, golf greens or vegetable gardens, except between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Not add water to wading pools or swimming pools, except to the extent necessary to replenish losses due to evaporation or spillage and to maintain operation of chemical feed equipment.
  • Not use water to wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, patios, driveways or for other similar purposes.
  • Not add water to any decorative fountain, pool or pond, except where the water is recycled.
  • Not serve water in a restaurant or similar establishment, except upon request.
  • Not use water for any unnecessary purpose or intentionally waste water.
  • Not wash the exterior of a motor vehicle, except if a private well water system is used, 50 percent or more of the water is recycled or it can be demonstrated that 30 gallons of water or less were used to wash the vehicle.

Customers will receive a written warning for their first violation and notice for the second. At a third violation, water service to the customer will be terminated.

The city asked residents to report any water waste to Durham One Call at 919-560-1200 or online.

More information about the restrictions is available on Durham City's Web site or by calling the city's Department of Water Management at 919-560-4381.


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  • blondton13 Sep 18, 2007

    I wish there were more efforts to be proactive instead of REACTIVE.

  • Hammerhead Sep 18, 2007

    About time, I was wondering about his the other day when I saw the new apartments at Club and Duke sts. with multiple sprinklers running.
    For the record, I'm in the county, using well water, and have never watered my lawn....ever. The rain we had Friday greener 'er right up.

  • aquamama Sep 18, 2007

    You can get plenty of water on your veggies by watering twice a week. And good for you if you even have a vegetable garden!

  • Esq Sep 18, 2007

    just added...

    *Not consume more than 3 "sips" of water at public water fountains.

  • Con Amor Sep 18, 2007

    I can not belive that people are mad about the restrictions!!DUH!I have a private well and I'm smart enough to not waste water..What good would it do me to have a green lawn,if I was thirsty and stinking..We only use water to bath,wash clothes,cook,wash dishes ect.Whe have had about 1 inch of rain in 2 mo.WHO would be stupid enough to think that watering lawns is more important than dying of thirst 2or3 mo from now when all of the water is gone!?!DUUHH

  • Bartmansan Sep 18, 2007

    People of Durham, do you all remember about 18 years ago we voted YES on a "Water Bond" to meet the demand of the growing community. On the same ticket, the voters were asked to vote on bonds to build the Durham Bulls a new park (The DBAP). The voters said NO to this bond. Then the city leaders, at that time, took the Water Bond money & loaned it to build the DBAP anyway. So the water money has been tied up, not being used in the way the voters intended to keep up with water demand. My point being, had the water bond money been used at the time to create resources, we would not be in the predicament that we are now. Just another example of crooked politicians and leaders here in Durham. Now we have a nice ball park but we have nothing to drink or flush our toilets with. (yes I'm exaggerating a little)

  • thewayitis Sep 18, 2007

    Why do they have to pick on vegetable gardens? That is stupid! Vegetable gardens provide food; lawns do not. It's a big difference. If I have to stop watering my vegetable garden, SouthPoint mall better stop watering its lawns. Incidentally, we never water our lawn -- maintaining a lawn in NC in the summer is a futile chore. But don't deny my veggies!

  • dcatz Sep 18, 2007

    Having to use water restrictions is a sign of bad infrastructure. A good infrastructure is designed to be able to handle unusually high demands and unusually low supplies. Imagine if the power company tried to place mandatory restrictions on how you can use your electricity because they are short on generating capacity. In fact, it seems Durham has mandatory water restrictions every other year. That's not a sign of a good infrastructure, that's a sign that the infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

    This is why government sanctioned and/or government run monopolies on utilities are dangerous. As far as I'm concerned, the City of Durham is a utility provider as far as water is concerned and what a person does with the water once they pay for it is none of their business. Which is why I'm glad I have a private water supply.

  • hp277 Sep 17, 2007

    Durham has a plentiful water supply thanks to long-term planning. That's why we have not had mandatory restrictions until now.

    Durham also has plans to increase its water supply by about a third by using the Teer Quarry in northern Durham as a reservoir/ raw water storage. That will be complete and in service in about 3 years.

    Durham also has a share of water from Jordan Lake that is not currently being used at all.

  • Durham-Raleigh Sep 17, 2007

    Deep Thought -- Durham hasn't needed to until know because we *planned* for our water use over two decades ago. Incidentally, Falls Lake only exists because Durham agreed to create the watershed for it to provide water for Raleigh.

    It's Wake Co. that lacks for decent planning and forethought.