Local News

Chatham County Announces Stage 3 Water Restrictions

Posted September 18, 2007
Updated September 24, 2007

— Due to extreme drought conditions and its serious impact on water supplies, the Chatham County Utilities Department announced that Stage 3 mandatory water restrictions will take effect on Monday.

These “danger level” restrictions mean that nearly all uses of county water for lawns, grasses, groundcovers, landscaping, pools and car washes are banned until further notice.

While the Stage 3 restrictions apply primarily to northeastern county customers, who are served by Jordan Lake, Siler City also has enacted similar restrictions.

“This means that our southwestern water customers also are under major restrictions,” said Roy Lowder, director of the county’s Utility Department.

“Jordan Lake is 4 feet below its normal level of 216 feet, even after a much-needed rain last Friday,” Lowder said. “Because the drought situation affects nearly all 100 counties, major water supplies are affected, and the governor has urged everyone to reduce water consumption by at least 20 percent.”

As of Sept. 11, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified Chatham County as having extreme drought conditions, according to officials.

Unless we consistently get more rain like we got last Friday, we will most likely be bumped up to exceptional drought conditions, the highest level possible,” Lowder said. “I cannot stress enough how important it is for our customers to conserve as much water as possible.”

Lowder cautioned that water customers violating Stage 3 restrictions will not receive a warning before penalties are issued.

“A first offense is a $250 fine per occurrence, with the second offense set at $500 per occurrence. A third violation means that we shut off your water service,” he said.

Penalties will be added to the customer’s utility bill and paid through the monthly billing process.

Stage 3 restrictions are mandatory and include the following:

Watering & Irrigation of Outdoor Plants, Lawns & Landscaping

  • Using county supplies to water for lawns, grass or groundcover is banned at all times and by all methods. County customers can use only hand-held containers to water trees, shrubs and garden plants, such as flowers and vegetables. This means they can use watering cans, but not hoses.

Those using 100 percent reclaimed or reused water, pond water, rain water and well water or other non-county water are exempt from these restrictions.

Swimming Pools & Fountains:

  • Filling or refilling any swimming or wading pools is banned, including adding small amounts of water.

Vehicle Washing:

  • Commercial car washes using any county water must cease operation until further notice. As had been the case with Stage 2, other customers cannot wash any vehicles, including boats, automobiles and airplanes at any time.

Other Restrictions (continued from Stage 2):

  • Customers are not allowed to wash outside areas, such as building exteriors, streets, driveways, decks, parking lots, service station aprons, patios or other types of impervious surfaces, such as paved areas.
  • Customers should not operate or add water to ornamental fountains, pools, ponds or similar items.
  • Customers should not operate water-cooled or other equipment that does not recycle cooling water, except when health and safety are impacted.
  • Customers should not use water from fire hydrants for purposes other than putting out fires or other public emergencies. If possible, fire departments should use raw water for fires instead of county water.
  • Customers should not use water for dust control or to compact soil.
  • Finally, customers should avoid any other activities that waste county water supplies.

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  • Joshua Sep 19, 2007

    why are we still on Stage 1? Bump it up to Stage 3!

  • incorrigible9 Sep 19, 2007

    Something I don't quite understand, about the "administrative fee" that is the largest part of my water bill: If I use 1000 gallons/month, I pay $22.00 / 1000 when the admin fee is included. If I use 2000, I pay $29, or $14.50 / 1000. If I use 3000, I pay $36, or $12.00 / 1000. I think that says I have an attractive quantity discount encouraging me to use as much water as possible! ~p

  • alanvankirk Sep 19, 2007

    Boy am I glad I moved out of Wake County!!! Moved back to Phoenix, we have a 6 year drought going on in the desert and no mandatory restrictions, we are still able to fill the pool. Right now the lakes are down does anybody see them hauling dirt out of the lake beds to incresase capacity? Seriously why are they still issueing building permits?

  • nolyinghere Sep 19, 2007

    dws, send your home owners association any tickets you get from the city

  • dws Sep 19, 2007

    "I live in Holly Springs. Yesterday I got a letter from my homeowners association saying I needed to plant some grass because I have " brown and bare spots " in my yard. I am at a loss of words.....how does one deal with this kind of thinking ?"

    you can't deal with idiots

  • jailorjoe1978 Sep 19, 2007

    yes the building permits should be frozen until this is resolved. thay had to do this in Cary a few years ago because of the city outgrowing its resorces.

  • jailorjoe1978 Sep 19, 2007

    just incase some of you didnt know. toilets and urinals are a fairly reasonable use for county water, and are almost a nessecity. flowers and grass? not so important. tell you what... lets ask them to let us water our lawns and wash our cars, and just apply the restrictions to your toilets. "you are now only allowed to flush once weekly, and monitors will be installed on your toilets at your expense. If anyone is caught over flushing... your toilets will be removed."

  • nolyinghere Sep 19, 2007

    They should take a lesson from Raleigh. Our city council's plan to fix th problem is to issue more and more building permits and attract as many new people to the area as possible. Seems that new people don't use water

  • shine Sep 19, 2007

    Josey Wales: That is too hilarious! Plant grass now - go to jail for watering grass.............

    "Do not pass go - Do not collect $200.00 - Go to jail - Go directly to jail" TOO funny !

  • Josey Wales Sep 19, 2007

    I live in Holly Springs.
    Yesterday I got a letter from my homeowners association saying I needed to plant some grass because I have " brown and bare spots " in my yard.
    I am at a loss of words.....how does one deal with this kind of thinking ?