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Water Police Looking for Rule-Breakers

Posted January 5, 2008

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— Raleigh's water police are looking for rule breakers. Since Stage I restrictions took effect last August, utility crews have handed out more than 400 fines.

A first offense is $200, and a second offense is $1,000. As of Friday, Raleigh water users were averaging about 39 million gallons of water a day. That's down more than 20 percent since last August.

While some people have gotten the message to conserve, not everyone has obeyed the rules, and that doesn't sit well with some homeowners.

The Tucker family has changed the way it operates due to the drought, but some of its neighbors in the north Raleigh neighborhood have been slapped with fines – in some cases for a second time.

Since August, 13 homeowners have been hit with a second violation for breaking the city's water conservation rules. At least four homeowners targeted by the Water Police live near the Tucker's in the Bedford Falls Subdivision.

“Some people say they know they can afford it, but it’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Denise Tucker.

Ed Buchan, with the City of Raleigh, said recent rainfall bumped the city's main water source at Falls Lake from about 91 days in reserve to around 120 days. That helps, but the Triangle's long term water supply remains in dire straits.

“A $1,000 fine should be a pretty good deterrent. And, of course, the next step is interruption of service,” Buchan said. “Whether you live in a $1 million home or a $100,000 house, we’re all in this together. We get our water from Falls Lake.”

The mayor is planning a major water conservation announcement Monday. It could include recommendations for longer water conservation measures.

43 Comments

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  • i am batman Jan 6, 2008

    Golf Courses?

  • mike275132 Jan 5, 2008

    Another story on this site brags about all the newcomers to the area. The problem is in not building enough water reservoirs.35 inches of rain in Raleigh in 2007 is more that enough if the right storage capacity is built. Incompetence by the Local and state govt. is the cause of this "crisis".

  • kleegam Jan 5, 2008

    Is there any penalty for companies that won't fix leaks from faucets within the building? Walmart on 70 & Millbrook has 2 leaky faucets in the women's bathroom. I reported the leaks to mgmt back in August. They haven't done a thing about it. Reported it again tonight. The manager on duty looked at me and said, "So what do you want me to do about it?" Great customer service, great corporate neighbors - not.

  • RyeBread Jan 5, 2008

    To overcome the "I'm rich so I can afford it" problem, how about basing the fine on a percentage of the property value, so that the median home price results in about $200/first $1000/second? But, say, an $800,000 home would be $800/first $4000/second, e.g.? That ought to cause the rich folks to think twice.

  • getrealpeople Jan 5, 2008

    Steve, all new irrigation systems are required to have seperate meters and they can tell if you watered your grass by usage on the meter. Irrigation accounts for up to 33% during summer. Power washing, car washing etc is drop in big bucket. Fire protection systems need to recirculate the water instead of discharging to storm. These systems require up to 30 minute pump runs and waste non-metered water. Washing streets and watering grass with drinking water is stupid. Use reuse. State rules need to change on reuse. Wake up Guv.

  • blackdog Jan 5, 2008

    ...don't get shot because you're just watering your "grass"....

  • skinnycow Jan 5, 2008

    Did they have to call them the "Water Police?" LOL

  • Travised Jan 5, 2008

    Steve, an interesting piece some have installed in the bathrooms is a toilet that has two flush sizes to conserve water usage. Not cheap, but for new construction or homes being rebuilt it is a good idea. I highly doubt the State board will apply pressure to have these installed over the traditional units on construction of homes.

    Either way it saves you on your water bill even without a crisis like this.

    And YES I know one location where one is being installed.

  • OSX Jan 5, 2008

    We are only 6 inches below normal rain fall. Seems like demand is WAY greater than supply. I don't know how we can be only 6 inches below normal. It seemed like it never rained this summer.

  • Steve Crisp Jan 5, 2008

    But wait, dh...

    The powers that be have been harping on the fact that lawn watering is the single biggest residental use of water and that by eliminating it we could extend our supply dramatically. And when you look at the numbers, that is absolutely true. Since summer and since people have stopped watering their lawns, our daily consumption is off by 50 percent. But if that is the case, then there is a very simple solution to the problem.

    Simply require separate metering systems for irrigation piping. Then when there is a "crisis" that requires use limitations, all they have to do is look at the irrigation meters to see if someone has been compliant.

    All the rest of their restrictions -- driveway washing, house washing, car washing, hand watering of flowers -- is completely insignificant compared to lawn watering. They are nothing but red herrings to cover their own incompetence and stupidity.

    And now they are talking about how many time per day you can flush your toilet?

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