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N.C. Close to Water Emergency, Tougher Restrictions

Posted October 11, 2007
Updated October 12, 2007

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The drought continues to cause worry throughout most of North Carolina.

A report released Thursday said 86 of the state's 100 counties are in extreme drought. Those areas have enacted voluntary or mandatory water-use restrictions.  Without rain soon, however, Gov. Mike Easley said Thursday that he may have to impose tougher restrictions.

On Aug. 23, Easley asked all North Carolinians to cut water consumption 20 percent. Despite cutbacks, the state remains dangerously close to being in a state of emergency from the drought

“Seeing people watering lawns really concerns me,” Raleigh resident Melinda Schroeder said.

Schroeder thinks Raleigh's moving too slow in its approach to water restrictions.

“I don't want to see us run out of water,” Schroeder said.

Raleigh implemented Stage 1 water restrictions on Aug. 28. Water demand has dropped 18 percent.

Raleigh Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp insists Raleigh has been aggressive in its approach to the water shortage. At this point, he said he does not see a need for state intervention.

Generally, they rely on us to know what is best for our communities, and as a whole, I think most of the system operators recognize that and are going to do the right thing," Crisp said.

Durham implemented Stage 3 water conservation measures on Oct. 15.

Lake Michie, a Durham water source, is down nearly 14 feet, but City Manager Patrick Baker insists it is no time to panic.

“The state's our partner, and I think all municipalities are trying to work together,” Baker said.

State law gives Easley the power to declare a state of emergency if he feels local governments are not doing enough to conserve water.

The trigger points for a state of emergency include communities running low on drinking water and fire departments lacking enough water to fight fires.

If the governor declares a state of emergency, he could force municipalities to reduce water use by 20 percent to 30 percent more.

The National Weather Service is not forecasting significant rainfall through the coming week.

Durham may decide on tougher water restrictions Friday. Raleigh's leaders will consider next week whether to ban all outdoor watering.

47 Comments

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  • donndeboer Oct 13, 2007

    I really hope global warming isn't as bad as its reported to be, but it would be would stupid to assume it isn't. If the overwhelming majority of climate experts agree it is real wouldn't it be wise to at least acknowledge the possibility they are right and act accordingly?

  • richard2 Oct 13, 2007

    If you can still water lawns there is no problem and no water shortage!

  • PeaceOut2017 Oct 12, 2007

    I see Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize (which puts him in the same league as Yassar Arabfat and Jimmy 18% interest rates) for "climate change". Part of the premise of so called climate change was more terrible hurricanes. Where's the hurricanes this year, hmmmm? Guess it's just a glitch or something

  • dws Oct 12, 2007

    Easley to make announcement on Monday.....any guesstimates on what he will mandate?

  • getrealpeople Oct 12, 2007

    Don't panic! It will rain. The Guv just wants to be involved in solving the Water Crisis. The guv just gave a multi-million dollar incentive for a company to add jobs and move staff to Wake county. make sense? no. built schools and solve transpotation issues first and stop raiding the highway trust fund.

  • YipesStripes Oct 12, 2007

    What I am wondering is, all of the towns around here are growing by leaps and bounds - Apex, Cary, etc. Apex has some big plan to double the town in size over the next 10 years. Has anyone stopped to think, WHERE IS THE WATER GOING TO COME FROM!?!?! Our water supply can't handle the people we already have - how will we provide water for more?

    I'm sick of seeing everyone still watering lawns - people, hotels, apartment complexes...I've seen WRAL watering! The hypocrisy is ridiculous. It doesn't matter how much money you make or how nice your house or neighborhood is. They need to start monitoring usage and fine for using more than the alloted amount!

  • billy Oct 12, 2007

    Turn off all nonessential water use. NOW.
    Start building a water plant down by the coast.
    While thats being built start building a pipe line to connect to the triangle are.
    Costly, but better than ending up thirsty.

  • Boo Oct 12, 2007

    I really don't see what everyone is complaining about. We all know the facts. If we chose to ignore the facts then we will suffer. Complaining about companies watering their lawns, which is probably done with recycled water anywy and not hurting anyone, isn't going to help matters any. It's just really simple - conserve water or suffer. It's up to all of us.

  • amenmike Oct 12, 2007

    I was on Farrington Rd. today and a new developer was watering his parade of homes lawns....I guess he doesn't have a clue. I have placed gallon containers in my toilets and I'm recycling water whenever I can.

  • HST Oct 12, 2007

    Why is it that we talk about conserving water, but no one talks about the real problem. This area is consistently rated one of the best places to live in America. No matter how many "slow-growth" politicians are elected, the area will continue to grow. More growth = more water consumption. Now, we may survive this years drought with water restrictions...but what about the next drought? And the one after that? We need to consider developing more water sources. Does that mean recycling treated waste water as drinking water? Or should we expand or existing reservoirs...maybe even build a new one? We need long term solutions, not just restrictions.

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