Local News

Raleigh Water Customers Have 4-Month Supply Left

Posted September 18, 2007
Updated September 19, 2007

— New numbers out Tuesday showed Raleigh water customers have a four-month supply remaining.

City leaders detailed the drought at a meeting of the Droiught Management Advisory Council. The good news was the restrictions are helping. The bad news was that water levels continue to drop.

Raleigh's water supply at Falls Lake was at about 42 percent of its capacity Tuesday. If the area doesn’t get any rain and nothing else changes, the city's water supply could be depleted by January, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Yes, it is a serious situation that we all need to keep track of,” said Terry Brown with the Corps.

Cities and towns have already taken steps to prevent that, such as mandatory water restrictions. Raleigh leaders said that step cut usage by 14 percent.

The Corps is also reducing the amount of water released downstream into the Neuse River to keep Falls Lake from draining too quickly.

“Any system would go dry if we don't get any rain, so we are hoping that it is going to rain, but the reality of it is we are in a drought,” said Ed Buchan, a Raleigh water conservation specialist.

Local and state representatives gather monthly to discuss drought issues. At Tuesday’s meeting, forecasters told the group that it still appears a dry fall and winter might also be on the horizon.

“So this is something that will probably be an ongoing issue that we're going to have to deal with, so that's when we start looking into the long-term possibilities,” Buchan said.

Raleigh leaders said that could push the city closer to Stage 2 water restrictions.

Water officials are also talking with downstream communities, like Goldsboro, that get water from the Neuse River. They're looking into possibly feeding the Neuse from another lake.

In a worst case scenario, if Raleigh's water supply runs dry, there is still an emergency backup to tap into.

“Conservation now and conservation later,” Brown said. “Let's hope for the best, and we'll get through this.”


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • mugofstout2 Sep 20, 2007

    So why doesn't the city council just allot so much water per household, with fines for those who go over? Seems to be easy enough, and puts every one on an even keel.

  • NCTeacher Sep 20, 2007


    I remember both Floyd and Fran. Fran was bad, but the only thing so awful about Floyd was the flooding. And the only reason we had such flooding was because it came on the heels of other major rain. In these drought conditions- I don't believe a Hurricane would flood us so badly.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 20, 2007

    How will draconian conservation efforts contribute one iota to the alleviation of the present situalion?

    There are two different measures of water shortage. One is the inability of the city to treat enough water for our use. That apparently is not the case for Raleigh; we have sufficient treatment capacity even if we all went completly nuts with our water use.

    The other is when we draw out more water for treatment that is flowing past the treatment plant. That is what is happening now. But that is also why we have Falls Lake -- to act as a buffer to the extremes of drought and flood. The lake is our insurance. And that lake currently has four months supply of water to satisfy our needs. Certainly, no one actually believes that it will not fill up again in the next four months.

    Given that, someone please answer my question in the context of realty as opposed to some sort of pseudo-utopian vision involving the forced ecofriendly conversion of the population.

  • DontBelieveTheHype Sep 19, 2007

    What we need is more unchecked growth, poor city planning, greedy developers, and suburban sprawl!!!

  • whocares Sep 19, 2007

    I hope all of those who have been watering their grass have to do without water. In a drought, I don't think that anyone should be able to water their grass. That is taking away water from those of us who could care less (my yard looks like a dust bowl) what our lawn looks like and would like to have drinking water.

  • flashlight Sep 19, 2007

    This drought has been going on for some time now. The fact that we still have enough water to provide little interruption in our daily routine is a tribute to planning that has occured in the past. Sorry your lawn doesn't look pretty and your car has dirt on it, but life's just hard sometimes when it doesn't rain a lot. Let's use this as an opportunity to show the importance of planning ahead when its not an emergency situation. The general public often rejects planning efforts during good times calling it "big government". Once things get bad: "Where have all the planners been?!"

  • charlesboyer Sep 19, 2007

    "I am telling you, all we need is two good hurricanes"

    Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

    Last Friday night's storms and the mayhem they caused were partially created by the remnants of a hurricane well degraded. Folks who can remember what Floyd and Fran brought this state want no parts of that.

  • RALEIGH DOODLEBUG Sep 19, 2007


  • jockeyclarke Sep 19, 2007

    pleshy wrote:

    "Look, you can throw that hippie mumbo-jumbo around all you want, but human nature boils down to one thing - doing what is in one's own best interest."

    I take from your statement that you are waiting for someone to offer conservation or environmental protection to you in a package you feel like buying today. Consider conservation a long-term investment in the planet and a willingness to shoulder a short-term loss with the promise of greater rewards later. These aren't hippies; these are strategic investors working for their best interests. I grow weary of libertarian free-market idealistic pablum.

    I'm sharing my water with the hippies.

  • NeverSurrender Sep 19, 2007

    "I am telling you, all we need is two good hurricanes"


    That and the powers-that-be to get off their bums and do something to make the water supply more reliable and able to withstand the occasional nasty droughts we get here.

    Now would seem to be a good time to do some proper municipal planning and make the investments for sustainable (not insane!) growth of our community...now that the issue is front and centre!

    But I'm betting they'll go for the usual hand-wringing and then bury their heads in the sand once the rains come. Then we'll repeat this for the next drought.