Local News

Rains Boost Raleigh, Durham Water Supplies

Posted December 31, 2007

— Rains over the past week have added more than three weeks to Raleigh's and Durham's water supplies, officials said Monday.

Raleigh was a day away from implementing tougher water restrictions last week. Now, those restrictions might not come before February.

The soaking the region received Sunday added almost a month to the drinking water supply in Falls Lake, Raleigh's primary reservoir, said Ed Buchan, a water conservation specialist with the city's Department of Public Utilities.

Raleigh – and the Wake County towns that buy water from the city – now has more than 120 days of available water in the lake, up from 91 on Christmas Day before two rounds of rain in recent days. The city was prepared to implement bans on outdoor watering and pressure washing and close many local car washes if the water supply in Falls Lake dropped to 90 days.

"We put a dent in the rain deficit," Buchan said. "We're ecstatic. We really are pleased with this, but again, not to put a damper on this, we're not out of the woods yet."

Heavy rains in Durham, Orange and Granville counties were especially beneficial, he said, because they fed streams that pour into Falls Lake. The lake is 8.61 feet below normal levels, but is more than a foot above the all-time low it reached on Christmas.

The Durham rains also added 24 days of drinking water to the Bull City's supply.

Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir, Durham's primary reservoirs, had a combined 60 days of premium water on Monday, according to the city's Web site. That level was up from 36 days combined last week.

Crews were expected to continue putting pipe in place this week to enable the city to tap an abandoned quarry for additional water. The 600 million gallons in the Teer Quarry is expected to provide an extra 30 days of drinking water.

City officials also have discussed doubling the amount of water Durham buys from Cary, to about 3.6 million gallons a day.

Meanwhile, the rains boosted the levels of the Rocky River Reservoir enough in Siler City that town officials lifted mandatory water restrictions Monday.

But Mayor Charles Turner requested that people continue voluntary conservation efforts until the reservoir returns to normal levels.

Siler City was in a water emergency in October, as the supply of drinking water in the Rocky River Reservoir dropped to about 65 days. Local poultry plants began trucking in water from Jordan Lake, and town officials put a rush on building a $1 million water supply pipeline from Sanford.

Rains over the past week have restored the reservoir to 3½ feet below normal levels, officials said in a statement.

Officials said residents and businesses should refrain from outdoor watering, washing cars and pressure washing and should try to conserve as much water as possible on a daily basis.


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  • PeaceOut2017 Jan 2, 2008

    Our federal and local politicians will sit by as our infrustructure like water, sewage, education etc..is depleted by illegals by the hundreds of thousands a year all over America.

    But but, raising taxes,stopping that border fence, giving free health care to those illegals and registering them to vote is far more important.

    This nations priorities is out of wack, thank$ to the left wing.

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Jan 1, 2008

    Enact the severe restrictions and keep the water that we just received. A large part of our current problem goes back to the last time we had a major drought. As soon as the water levels spiked up, the governments said "Never mind, blow all the water you want!" Even if we get a nor'easter that completely refills the reservoirs, keep the water restrictions active so this doesn't happen again in the future!

  • Oh Snap. Jan 1, 2008

    Don't ban me dude, don't ban me.....

  • lynddsy Jan 1, 2008

    i was really glad for the rain. we need one like that about twice a month for the next few months. what i'm not glad about is the restrictions will either be loosened or taken down altogether. one rainfall does not fix the problem and we still need to be conservative with the water. we'll probably be in worse shape next summer. people just don't get it and neither do the officials!

  • rm -f all Dec 31, 2007

    Here is something else to keep in mind. You have the storm water runoff entering various water bodies, but the major feed of water is usually from a few specific points like a river.

    Take a look at Durhams water supply, Lake Mickie and Little River Reservior. Each is feed from Flat River and Little River, respectively.

    If you take the average of their current intakes (or river discharge), Flat River is averaging 450ft3/sec and Little River is averaging 150ft3/sec for the 24 hour period of Dec 31, 2007. Those are roughly 290.1 and 96.9 million gallons (388 million gallons total) for today.

    These calculations do not take into account rainfall into the water bodies, yesterdays intakes or the lower intakes over the next few days. Today, they will add roughly 16-19 days of water(depending on usage).

    While a good sign, you still need to conserve and hope for more rain events like this over the next few months.

  • patriotsrevenge Dec 31, 2007

    I was duck hunting this morning at Jordan Lake, there's water pouring in ther like crazy....makes for happy ducks, yippee.

  • drnc Dec 31, 2007

    "Nation's" is possessive. "Priorities are out of whack," is the correct subject/verb agreement. A "wack" is an eccentric person. Whack means out of kilter. I'd be a bit less concerned with the right wingers and a little more worried about my grammar.

  • motorfinga Dec 31, 2007

    Our federal and local politicians will sit by as our infrustructure like water, sewage, education etc..is depleted by illegals by the hundreds of thousands a year all over America.

    But but, stoppin them gays from a'marryin is fur more important. YEE HAW!!!

    This nations priorities is out of wack, thank$ to the right wing.

  • shine Dec 31, 2007

    rm - f all ----- Everyone posting to this story need to read this post rm- f all. It is exactly right and puts into perspective what alot do not understand. In areas where they do not have water it is measured in 1 inch per acre measurements. This is the equivalents this poster gave you.

    Just because you got three inches of water - be just as conservative as you have been otherwise you will be back in the same boat you have been.

    It takes a bunch of water to replinish what has been lost.

  • djofraleigh Dec 31, 2007

    The bankers, builders and realtors were out dancing naked in the rain, and we should be too. Nature was doing it.

    That 2" was worth a lot of money. The lakes should rise more as the water drains.