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Raleigh Council OKs Some Water-Saving Ideas

Posted January 8, 2008

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— The City Council on Tuesday approved several of Mayor Charles Meeker's suggestions to slash local water consumption, but council members held off on his two most controversial ideas: a 25-gallon individual daily limit on water and a temporary 50 percent increase in water rates.

The average person uses about 60 to 70 gallons of water a day, and Meeker said Monday that he wants everyone to cut that number by more than half. He said raising water rates on March 1 would encourage people to conserve and would offset the resulting loss of revenue to the Department of Public Utilities.

Council members said they wanted to study the budget impact of a 50 percent water surcharge, and they want to create a water education program for all area property owners. The council also wants to look at accelerating the move to tiered water rates, where a sliding scale is used to increase charges as consumption rises.

Meeker said Monday that the city's billing software system couldn't accommodate tiered rates, but that managers were looking to upgrade to a new program in the next couple of years that could handle tiered-rate billing.

The council did back the mayor's proposal to urge area homeowners, apartment complex managers and office building landlords to install low-flow shower heads and faucets and toilet inserts by March 1 and to ask builders to include such devices on all new housing developments built in the city.

Upgrading a home could cost $200 to $600, experts said. Meeker and City Manager Russell Allen said the city would work with nonprofit groups to help low-income families purchase water-saving devices.

Raleigh also will advise the 140,000 customers on the city water system that the outdoor watering ban will likely remain in place for 2008 so drinking water isn't used for irrigation. But council members said they want to look at the impact of local water restrictions on area swimming pools.

Any pool that was drained for the winter would have to remain empty this summer under current regulations.

Council members said they would like to meet with the mayors of Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon to discuss the water-saving measures. The six towns purchase water from Raleigh's system.

The council also voted to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce discharges from Falls Lake into the Neuse River. The Corps of Engineers manages the lake, which also serves as Raleigh's primary reservoir.

Meanwhile, the Corps of Engineers met Tuesday to discuss continue reducing releases from the lake. Such a move could adversely affect Neuse River levels and the communities downstream that draw their water from river, including Smithfield and Goldsboro.

258 Comments

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  • gkgreene Jan 10, 2008

    The mayor for some reason decided it would be best for Raleigh to supply water to Wake Forest, Rolesville, Garner, Knightdale, Zebulon and other towns in Wake County -> Way to go Mayor Meeker.
    Why do they not realize that conservation can not keep up with the growth in all the Cities and towns that is allowed -> Way to go Mayor Meeker.
    We do not have enough utilites nor are roadways sufficient, but look on the bright side - we have a $10 million dollar 1/4 mile street down town and a convention center. And now he is concerned about a outdoor stage downtown.

  • 1secondlook Jan 9, 2008

    1secondlook says "I own a powerwashing company and we have had to lay off everyone. We have not been able to work for about 2 months."

    You need to check the rules www.raleigh-nc.gov which still allows commercial power washing. You closed your own business! Stage 2 has not passed yet!

    getrealpeople I know we legally are allowed to work but none of the properties I work for will LET US work. Nobody is calling for pressure cleaning during the drought. Would you call to have pressure cleaning right now? I didnt think so.No work = Lay off workers

  • getrealpeople Jan 9, 2008

    Go to Wilson to wash your car. They haven't had restrictions the entire time. What they do have is LEADERSHIP!" -- veyor

    and a reservoir!!

    Get your facts straight. go to google
    Buckhorn has 850 acres of water & 250 acres of land.
    Falls Lake has 12,500 acres of water & over 25,000 acres of land. Wilosn has 8.6% unempoyment and only population of 47,000 people. Raleigh has that many college students!

  • getrealpeople Jan 9, 2008

    "Someone needs to check into those fines. My guess is that they aren't being paid because the city has no legal grounds.
    HadEnough"

    HadEnough When you don't pay they will cut your water off!
    All fines go to the school system!

  • getrealpeople Jan 9, 2008

    1secondlook says
    "I own a powerwashing company and we have had to lay off everyone. We have not been able to work for about 2 months."

    You need to check the rules www.raleigh-nc.gov which still allows commercial power washing. You closed your own business!
    Stage 2 has not passed yet!

    "the drought is media driven and there is no drought there is uncontrolled growth period."
    bobbyj

    bobby this is for you! wake up and drive by Falls Lake or go to this web site. or USGS web site.
    http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Falls/Rec%20Area%20Status.htm


  • richard2 Jan 9, 2008

    Is the extra money going to be use to increase Falls Lake?

  • HadEnough Jan 9, 2008

    Someone needs to check into those fines. My guess is that they aren't being paid because the city has no legal grounds.

  • Justin T. Jan 9, 2008

    There's no way that the mayor can get by with 25 gallons per day. It is hard to wash off that politician stank.

  • doodad Jan 9, 2008

    Maybe the next time we get into a drought situation and the city of Raleigh "threatens" to fine people for watering grass, they'll go ahead and cite with them with a $1000.00 fine to begin with.

  • WRALSUCKS Jan 9, 2008

    Price gouging is ok when it's performed by the Mayors office, then it's called "revenue replenishment"...

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