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Raleigh Residents Asked to Stick to 35 Gallons a Day

Posted January 22, 2008

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— Raleigh leaders on Tuesday asked city residents to limit their daily water consumption to 35 gallons per person to help extend the dwindling supply of drinking water as much as possible.

Mayor Charles Meeker two weeks ago urged residents to cut their water use to 25 gallons a day per person, noting Falls Lake, the city's primary reservoir, was about one-third of its normal level. The 35-gallon-a-day guideline amounts to about 1,000 gallons a month.

Meeker also called for a temporary 50 percent increase in water rates to encourage conservation, but the City Council said they wanted further study of the financial impact of lower water use before raising rates. He said Tuesday he was no longer pushing for the increase because of the strong opposition to the idea.

"We have a long, long way to go, and what we're trying to do now is to get that lake to fill up as much as possible before the warm weather starts in May," he said.

Falls Lake is more than 8½ feet below normal, and officials said drinking water should last until at least May 14 at current demand levels.

The City Council already backed Meeker's call for local residents to install low-flow devices on faucets and showers by March 1 and to purchase rain barrels to collect water for outdoor irrigation. On Tuesday, the council approved the purchase of 5,000 devices for low-income residents.

The council also agreed Tuesday to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains Falls Lake, to reduce releases from the lake into the Neuse River by 6 million to 9 million gallons a day.

City officials also want to work with the Corps of Engineers on possibly raising the level of the lake in the future to increase its overall capacity. Only 13 percent of the lake's capacity is used for drinking water, Meeker said, adding he would like to see that allocation raised to 17 percent.

Council members said they would hold off on implementing tighter water restrictions until Raleigh officials could meet with the mayors of six Wake County towns that buy water from the city.

Raleigh had planned to implement Stage 2 restrictions once the available water supply in Falls Lake dropped to 90 days. The rules would ban all outdoor watering and all pressure-washing and would allow car washes to operate only if they used approved water-recycling methods.

After the Feb. 1 meeting with the mayors of Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon, the tougher restrictions might be put in place even before the water supply drops to 90 days, officials said.

"(Those towns) represent about 15 or 20 percent of the usage each day. It's important to have all those citizens doing the same thing that we are," Meeker said.

At least two council members also suggested the city ask lawmakers to change state rules and allow Raleigh to recycle used water, often called "gray water," to help conserve even more.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • enderby Jan 23, 2008

    "If we conserve water they will just issue more construction permits...I think I need a good long hot shower."

    nerdlywehunt - you are so right. Try it with a watersaving head on reduced pressure - that will guarantee you need a long shower. Not less water, just a longer time. After they allow doubling the number of houses will they want us to use 17.5 gpd?
    Let's work together and do whatever we can to make others rich.

  • HadEnough Jan 23, 2008

    Count me out. Not until they restrict businesses will I conserve more. I'm talking about car washes, concrete companies, bottling plants etc..

  • gopanthers Jan 23, 2008

    denverbob234 - I must admit you are right as I see and hear it all the time myself. But when do we say enough is enough. We are one nation (last time I checked). Why is it - it takes something like 9/11 for ALL of us to all pull together as a nation and act like we're suppose to be "one nation under GOD" and then the rest of the time we hate each other? Weather it be East/West/South/or North. When are we going put our petty differnces aside and "become "one" and help each other as American's even during a water crisis. Nobody eles is going to help. All we got is each other right here in our own backyard. No where else. This is all we got. Personally, I don't understand where all the hate comes from.

  • jackadoo Jan 22, 2008

    I like the gal on another blog, the inmate who was killed, when she said I want his 35 gpd !

  • getrealpeople Jan 22, 2008

    Yup - you will still pay for waste water services even if you shut your water off at the street.

    sorry but that is wrong. You pay admin fees for water & sewer but if you use no water you will be billed 0 units= $0 water charges. So no water use = no water & sewer use charges.
    Sewer charges are based on the amount of water you use.
    bills also include stormwater fees, garbage & recycling.
    Each unit is equal to 748 gallons. Divide by number of days on your bill and you get your average per day. Meters have leak indicators on them. Read your meter like odometer, drop last 2 digits since they bill in hundred cubic feet. Get it?
    Raleigh water cost .00227 cents per gallon or 5 gallons for one penny. dirt cheap since most of you drink bottled water at $1 for 12 ounces or $13 a gallon.

  • denverbob234 Jan 22, 2008

    gopanthers, wouldn't it be quite hypocritical to ask the same "yankees" most southerners hate so much for help. I don't think they will help the rednecks in the south that hate them so much, unless you need their help. Then you look to them for help. Good luck

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Jan 22, 2008

    We are a family of five. I just checked my January bill and we used 46 gallons per day per person. We've already reduced our usage quite a bit but I'm sure we can reduce it some more.

    I'm looking into some ways to do that, but I'm just not sure that we can make it to 35 gallons per day. Especially with two teenage daughters in the house! I think the most I can hope for is to get us down to around 40 per day...

    I'm not even on Raleigh water but I think we all have an obligation to conserve at least until the drought conditions are over.

    I wish our community leaders were as responsible as the citizens. (I know, I'm a dreamer...) But it is way past due for them to restrict growth until our infrastructure catches up!! Why don't they get that?

  • foetine Jan 22, 2008

    Welcome to Raleigh: Don't Flush!

  • gopanthers Jan 22, 2008

    35 gallons is a little better then 25. But I just don't see how a family of 5 or so can get by. Granted I'm with the most of you. Water situation is very serious but there has got to be another way like piping in water from other states. Not ones in the Southeast as they are suffering to but from up North where drought is not an issue (Just my opinion - no expert here) just very very concerned.

  • JohnnyMalaria Jan 22, 2008

    "Is it just me or has anyone else been "hit" with an outrageous water bill? My bills have been being between $30 to $35 range when suddenly I get this one last Friday for $382.23!!"

    Check for a leak. Look at the meter and see if it is running even with no water running in your home. That happened to me - almost the same jump in cost.

    Get a statement from a plumber saying that there's a leak and roughly how long for. The city will refund you a sizeable portion of the high bill (they did for me). You won't get a check but for the next few bills, you won't have to pay.