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Easley: Water Systems Should Prepare for Lengthy Drought

Posted January 14, 2008

— North Carolina water systems that have the most precarious reserves of available drinking water need to link up with other systems, check their lines for leaks and adopt tiered water rates to encourage conservation, Gov. Mike Easley said Monday.

Easley last month asked the managers of 30 water systems hit hardest by the ongoing drought, including Raleigh and Durham, to attend an Emergency Water Shortage Response Planning Workshop to ensure they were adequately prepared if the drought lingers into the summer.

“Public water systems should act now, not wait for an emergency, to set up interconnections with other water systems and seek backup supplies, whenever those options are possible,” Easley said.

The drought is the worst ever recorded in North Carolina, with two-thirds of the state's 100 counties experiencing the driest conditions on the state Drought Management Advisory Council's rating scale.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources would work with the League of Municipalities to ensure financing wouldn't delay any projects, he said. Some money in the state's "rainy day" fund could be tapped to pay for infrastructure improvements, he said.

"We can solve this problem forever so that we're prepared for any dry weather in the future, we're prepared to deal with any other drought that comes forward. We can knock this one off the table," he said.

DENR also will send water-audit experts into each of the 30 communities to ensure leaks and other structural problems aren't causing significant water losses, Easley said. The water audits would identify problems and recommend what to do to fix them, he said.

The governor also reiterated his request that water systems adopt tiered water rates to charge people higher rates as they use more water.

"It keeps it in people's minds that we have to change the way we look at water," he said.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker last week called for a temporary 50 surcharge on water rates, noting that the city's billing software couldn't accommodate tiered rates. The City Council held off on approving the measure, choosing to study the budget impact of such an increase.

Meeker has the right idea, Easley said.

"If you think people are upset with conservation rates, they're going to really be upset if they run out of water," he said.


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  • Nobody but Carolina Jan 15, 2008

    Hunt couldn't outright say no to Viginia Beach since Lake Gaston actually straddles the state is in both states, maybe limit how much, but that would be it.

  • ridgerunner Jan 15, 2008

    Hunt helped us prepare for the drought when as our wonderful governor he agreed to let Va Beach pump millions of gallons from Lake Gaston, water that could now be going to some of the cities in NC that need water.

  • busyb97 Jan 15, 2008

    If anyone is interested, I found 2 products that are great water savers: www.jet-streamshowerhead.net has a Low-Flow (1.5gpm)-Jet Showerhead (it actually has slightly more pressure than my 2.5 Moen showerhead had), and Faucet Aerators (0.5 gpm). The faucet aerators are great and only $5.95 for 3 of them!! They took my bathroom sinks from 2.2 gpm to 0.5. We only use it for washing hands and brushing teeth, so I don't need full-blast pressure or my kids wasting water that way. And since you use those multiple times per day, it will add up!

    The showerhead, I just installed and used- LOVE IT. NO loss of pressure like you'd think at 1.5 gpm. The flow test they suggest works. I filled my bucket (and recycled the water elsewhere of course) in 1 min 45 sec with my old showerhead (2.5gpm), but with the new head, it took 2min 50 seconds for the same amount of water, and great pressure. They are a bit price, but most good showerheads are ($70).

    Alot of water & hopefully $$ off my bill.

  • mrduffin Jan 15, 2008

    Almost all businesses are built around water usage. If the mall had no water to flush the tollets they would be shut down. To be fair the malls should limit the number of people who can enter to cut down on the use of water. This summer when the A/C systems start up the busineeses that use cooling towers should have to cut back their operating hours to save water. A normal residental pool holds about 20,000 gallons. A 1000 ton cooling tower uses this anount of water in about 16 hours. One large commerical building uses more more water in a day than all the pools in Durham hold combined. I think the leaders are looking for a solution in the wrong place.

  • BigUNCFan Jan 15, 2008

    No one has asked why we are in such a bad drought.

    Is this a multi year long term event? Does it have to do with global warming and pattern changes in climate or la nina? There are parts of Africa that are now deserts that used to get rain as recently as the 1970s. It could be happening here.

  • coolwill Jan 15, 2008

    I might aid this is the same state that cheated it people by spending the 2 billion dollar surplus. I bet not one dime was spent to enhance our natural resources.

  • coolwill Jan 15, 2008

    This state, city and county seems to be concerned with building for the people that might come to live here including the illegal aliens, how about be concerned about the ones who live here now by slowing negative growth. We are the ones who are paying their salary at this point. Raising fees and taxes and the value of your property at this time leading into a recession is down right mob like. The act of this government is like the stories of people being on drugs. This government can’t see us because they are all drug up on their on self gratitude. Stop the building. I saw EMS down town Saturday night washing their vehicles right in a city garage. I wonder if all government offices have stop washing their vehicles.
    This government needs to go through a detoxifying program. Middle class is suffering because they are not drug free

  • miketroll3572 Jan 15, 2008

    To bad Sleasly could not use the foresite to be PREPAIRED for drought. Look at the condition N.C. is in these days. You can only blame the Democrats. That is who has been in charge since I can remember

  • nc resident Jan 15, 2008

    Meeker has the right idea, Easley said...charge people with Mother Nature Taxes while you can, keep on building on farmland, lie about jobs and economy in the area to draw people in the area for tax revenue and these people has nothing to do but sit on their rears and flush away water...idiots...

  • Timetogo Jan 15, 2008

    Here ya go... Let's build and build and build and then complain that the water won't supply the area we've overgrown.. and then CHARGE MORE for it! YEAH!!