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Raleigh Recruits City Workers to Enforce Water Restrictions

Posted September 18, 2007

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— Police officers usually fight crime, but with the recent drought, city officials have asked them to become water cops.

Raleigh implemented Stage 1 water restrictions on Aug. 28, limiting residents to one day of outdoor watering a week with sprinklers and a second day of using a hand-held hose. That move came less than two months after the city first imposed mandatory three-day limits.

"Our lawn is suffering terribly,” said resident Judd Welborn.

Welborn's grass looks more like hay these days. Welborn said he follows Raleigh's mandatory water restrictions, but knows there are other people who do not.

"For those folks who choose to disobey, you hope the code enforcement officers are doing their job,” said Welborn.

Brian Casey is one of three water code enforcement officers for Raleigh. The city has 180,000 water customers, so keeping up with violators is not easy.

"Early mornings, drink a lot of coffee and wake up at 4 o'clock,” said Casey.

The drought has forced the city to find new recruits. Some city employees, from meter readers to police officers, are being asked to keep an eye out for violators and report them to code enforcement officers.

"We'll, that's one more than we had last year, so we've increased our staff by 50 percent,” said Dale Crisp, Raleigh public utilities director.

“It makes a big difference and I can cover other areas if I know they are over here or there. That helps a lot,” said Casey.

In the past, water citations could only be issued if a code enforcer officer witnessed the violation. With the extra eyes on the street, citations are also issued based on the word of other city workers.

A first violation of the restrictions is a $200 fine and a second is $1,000. A third will result in water service being shut off.

22 Comments

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  • WFrules Sep 18, 2007

    Newsjunkie and everyone: You can report violation to 919-857-4540. I have it set for speed dial!

  • William Tell Sep 18, 2007

    205 Dublin ave waters constantly. I saw them watering at least 5 times when it was not their day. their grass is beuatiful, when arethey getting a ticket?

  • tarheel1980 Sep 18, 2007

    Aquamama; So if Cary is water the streets every morning at 5:00 am, that is within the mandatory restrictions? That was the question that I would think that the citizens should ask. Please don't accuse me of thinking that Cary gets its water from Raleigh. Cary has, however, presented a holier then thou attitude about being better than everyone else because they made the decision to go on permanent restrictions while water was not short. These restrictions were based on the results of unmanaged growth leaving their water processing infrastructure under sized for their town. I can't believe that water the streets every morning is within the restrictions that everyone else in town is under.

  • aquamama Sep 18, 2007

    tarheel1980: Cary has its own water restrictions year-round to manage their water supply. It's not exempting itself from restrictions AT ALL. They do not get their water from Raleigh or even from the same reservoir. There is even a reuse system (which we heard so much about recently) which supplies irrigation water for some businesses and residences. What questions do they need to ask?

    A lot of landscaping companies in Raleigh have been filling up on reuse water to supply to their customers' lawns to keep them green. You can, too, if you have a water tank truck.

  • tarheel1980 Sep 18, 2007

    Please do not use 911 for reporting water usage violations. The Public Works Department is responsible for enforcement of the rules, not the Police or Fire Departments. While water use is important, an individual violation is certainly not a life or death emergency.

  • tarheel1980 Sep 18, 2007

    Sure Cary has its own water supply, but I thought they were on permanent restrictions due to their unmanaged growth. Why would the town exempt itself from the restrictions. Citizens of Cary should ask tough questions of their leaders.

  • Fandemonium Sep 18, 2007

    Well, the city is still issuing new housing permits since I see 3 new teardown/McMansions being built. I hope these speculators arent't left holding the bag like those just after the dot com bust. There's always a sucker left holding the bag.

  • Newsjunkie Sep 18, 2007

    I wish the article had listed a code violation PHONE NUMBER so that we could all report violations. I see businesses watering their landscaping also and wonder how they are getting away with it.

  • coolwill Sep 18, 2007

    Have any more building permits been giving out?

  • coolwill Sep 18, 2007

    Cary has there own water supply.

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