Local News

Meeker's Water Use Overflows His Proposed Daily Limit

Posted January 8, 2008

— Mayor Charles Meeker has cut his water consumption in recent months, but he still has a ways to go to meet the daily goal of 25 gallons per person he has set for Raleigh water customers.

According to Meeker's last four water bills, he and his wife, Anne McLaurin, have cut their daily usage from about 67 gallons each last June to about 39 gallons each last month.

But recent water use in Meeker's house was up from the 33 gallons he and his wife used daily in September and October, according to the bills.

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 also proposed a temporary 50 percent increase in water rates to encourage people to conserve and offset the resulting loss of revenue to the Department of Public Utilities.

Meeker said he was given a rain barrel for Christmas and plans to install water-saving devices in his kitchen and bathrooms that should help the couple to meet his 25-gallon daily goal.

Still, the mayor could have a hard time keeping up with the Harwoods. The Rolesville family of four has lopped their water consumption in half through a variety of conservation measures.

"(It's just) little things. I really don't think they're that big of an effort on our part. It's just common sense stuff," Bobbi Harwood said.

The family uses paper plates for a third of its meals, and they pour water left in drink bottles into a pitcher to rinse dishes. Bobbi Harwood also uses a four-gallon bucket to collect water as the shower heats up, which is then used to flush toilets.

"I turn my water on (and) will get my stuff ready. Rather than let it go down the drain, it's going in the bucket," she said.

Newly installed rain barrels outside the house could help reduce the family's consumption even further, she said.

It's the type of effort from citizens Meeker and other city officials said they would like to see duplicated.

"I think we need to make these changes now because you can't make them overnight," Meeker said.

The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday backed the mayor's proposal to urge local residents to install water-saving devices on faucets, in showers and in toilets by March 1 and to purchase rain barrels to collect water for outdoor use.

City officials also want builders to make such devices standard in all new housing developments.

Tim Minton, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County, said several options are on the table for the group's members. But he said he doesn't think the water shortage is the result of mismanaged growth across the region.

"New construction is a small percentage of residential housing that we have," Minton said. "The facts are, if we don't grow, we're going to die. We don't want to see that. We want to see some type of growth going on."


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  • djofraleigh Jan 9, 2008

    Imagine growth without end...does it really mean you die if you don't grow?

    Stop water and sewer connections until falls lake is full.

    rain barrels...do we live in the dessert or a place of lush, green plants?

  • richard2 Jan 9, 2008

    Meeker is all wet.

  • 1secondlook Jan 9, 2008

    Posted on earlier.

    Here are the email addressses again. Mr. Meeker and the council members. It seems to be working somewhat. One of the council memebers made a comment on the 10:00 news about the amount of email he had received against Mayor Dingbat's proposals.

    charles.meeker@ci.raleigh.nc.us nancy.mcfarlane@ci.raleigh.nc.us mary-ann.baldwin@ci.raleigh.nc.us rodger.koopman@ci.raleigh.nc.us russ.stephenson@ci.raleigh.nc.us james.west@ci.raleigh.nc.us thomas.crowder@ci.raleigh.nc.us pisley@boyceisley.com

    Keep them going.
    January 9, 2008 7:47 a.m

  • catwoman1 Jan 9, 2008

    Stop the building!!!! If you don't build it, they won't come. We don't have enough water, room in schools, or the roadways as it is...listen up people!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 9, 2008

    When they talk of everyone, including restaurants, using paper plates, and plastic cups and utensils, they neglect to mention the garbage crisis that will hit us because of this.

    Where do you want it? In the left cheek or the right cheek? Either way, its gonna hurt.

  • mgteacher Jan 8, 2008

    Rain barrels are a wonderful idea but.....what good are they when there is no rain???!!! And I can't wait to see what the homeowners associations will have to say about these "unsitely" monstrosities attached to the rain gutter systems....assuming people have rain gutters installed!! Great job Meeker!

  • floyd_lawson Jan 8, 2008

    Couldn't see this coming. When I first read this article the only thing I could think about was Easley telling us to conserve fuel and stay home on Labor Day weekend while he flew to Southport for his weekly vacation. These two would be funny if it was at someone else's expense.

  • dfmlythr Jan 8, 2008

    "We want to curb growth as a last resort..."

    Meeker does not know the difference between apple butter an :)

  • rushbot Jan 8, 2008

    All animals are created equal, bit some animals are more equal than others!

  • busyb97 Jan 8, 2008

    RoadGeek...It didn't say they use the leftover water to rinse the clean dishes. It's probably for rinsing dishes before they go in the dishwasher. Just think how much water goes down the drain for that. But it's irritating beyond belief that Meeker has been saying all of this stuff and hasn't even INSTALLED conservation measures....and if he's not home, what on earth are they using 39 gallons per person for?! Be really curious about Easley too. Think we'll ever see HIS bill?