Local News

New Durham Water Restrictions Could Limit Watering, Business Use

Posted November 26, 2007
Updated November 27, 2007

— Durham city leaders are considering tightening water restrictions to call for all businesses to rein in use by at least 50 percent.

Water Management officials met with City Manager Patrick W. Baker on Monday morning and recommended moving to Stage 4 severe mandatory conservation measures. Baker will likely announce the move on Tuesday unless rain provides significant drought relief overnight.

The new restrictions would become effective Monday, Dec. 3. Durham last increased its water regulations on Oct. 16, limiting outdoor to one day a week.

As of Sunday, Durham had a 59-day supply of water in the Lake Michie and Little River reservoirs.

Stage 4 restrictions would outright ban all watering and sprinkling of lawns, grass, trees, golf greens and flowers. The ordinance allows commercial growers to use "the minimal amount for survival" of their plants.

Watering vegetable gardens and ornamental shrubs would be permitted if a person used a hand-held hose, container or drip-irrigation system. That watering could only be done between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. A person could water only once during those days.

The ordinance orders all industrial, manufacturing and commercial enterprises to reduce consumption by 50 percent. Managers must document their efforts to reach that goal.

Most commercial and private vehicle washing would also be banned. Car washes that can prove they recycle at least 50 percent of their water would be allowed to operate.

Stage 4 restrictions also prohibit customers from:

  • Making nonessential use of water for commercial or public use.
  • Operating water-cooled air conditioners or other equipment that does not recycle cooling water, except when health and safety are adversely affected.

Baker would retain the authority to issue licenses to allow any customer to use water in ways contrary to Stage 4 restrictions. To get such licenses, however, customers would have to demonstrate that the license will result in a 50 percent or more reduction of their overall use.

The city director of environmental resources has the authority to disconnect water service to any customer that violates the restrictions. The director must give 24-hour written warning for the customer to end the violation.


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  • homeimprovement Nov 27, 2007

    I think it is time to do what we could do and not what we have to do. I find myself turning the tap off when I shave and brush my teeth. If I don't drink a whole pot of coffee, only make one or two cups worth. There is a lot we can do to conserve water.

  • ANYWHO Nov 27, 2007

    joshua.because mayor mekkerville was thinking of a way to make this a tax issue. dont forget the city spent $42,500.00 on an electric car that meeker vegas man was on t.v. touting..

  • Joshua Nov 27, 2007

    Raleigh leaders are still wondering the proper definition of a drought and how they can tax it. But first, they have to put together a committee and give them $1.5 million dollars to first prove there is a drought, and secondly, to prove it may have an effect on the city. Meanwhile, we're running out of water.

    Why did we wait so freakin' long to put restrictions in place? Why did we only move to 1.5 stage and not stage 2 or 3? And why did we not act back in June or July when the people knew this was going to be a huge problem!?

  • stinkachu73 Nov 27, 2007

    Why, O, why does anyone need to worry about their grass...it's winter! It dies anyway! They should not allow people to water grass AT ALL! Dumb! but at least they are doing something, where Raleigh is just ridiculous.

  • kcfoxie Nov 27, 2007

    What is Wake doing? I am glad to see Durham taking affirmative action.

  • seankelly15 Nov 27, 2007

    BWILIS - My, how clever. Although, given that you used periods after the n and the c leads me to conclude that you have been out of touch with NC for about four decades (or at least postal abbreviations). Thanks for sharing....

  • Hexzero Nov 27, 2007

    It is about time. I am trying to figure out why businesses and city municipalities were excluded from the water ban. It ****** me off to know end to watch the sprinklers going at most businesses while the rain was coming down a month ago. The rest of the counties need to enact tougher restrictions NOW!

  • ANYWHO Nov 27, 2007

    durham,n.c...where's that at?

  • redant Nov 27, 2007

    Well said DurhamDude.

  • DurhamDude Nov 27, 2007

    WRAL could do a better job of not making it look like Durham is just now limiting watering. Stage 3 took care of most outdoor watering execpt by hand-held container. Stage 4's biggest impact is on businesses, which is huge.