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Some Question Raleigh's Delay on Tougher Water Rules

Posted February 11, 2008
Updated February 12, 2008

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— Raleigh moves to its toughest water restrictions to date this Friday. Stage 2 rules ban all outdoor watering and pressure-washing, and an estimated 60 percent of car washes in Raleigh will have to close because they don't meet standards for recycling water.

Nonetheless, some people say tighter restrictions should have happened months ago. In September, Falls Lake had dropped so much you could already see its banks.

That same month, after a regional drought meeting, Raleigh's Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp said "sounds like we are going to have to move to Stage 2 because the drought does plan to continue for several months."

Crisp later backed off that statement, however.

Raleigh's City Manager, among others, said then that it was not time to go to Stage 2 restrictions. Instead, the City Council voted in October to ban sprinklers. Ed Buchan, a water conservation specialist for Raleigh's Public Utilities Department, said that helped cut daily water demand by about a third.

"Going to Stage 2 should have been done probably back in August (or) September of last year,” Dean Naujoks, of the Neuse River Foundation, said.

The foundation has long advocated for tougher water conservation.

"This current City Council is now inheriting a lot of baggage from the previous City Councils that have really drug their feet in terms of moving forward with good water-conservation measures,” Naujoks said.

"What the council needs to do and what it has been doing, is trying to make the best decisions it can based on the information it has at the present,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

Both the mayor and the city manager said upping water restrictions is a complicated decision. They pointed to the more than 200 people who came to last week's City Council meeting, saying tougher restrictions would put them out of business.

"So you really are affecting the the economy of the overall area and the livelihood of certain people,” Meeker said.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages Falls Lake, issued a forecast last week that suggested the lake, which is Raleigh's primary source of drinking water, would run dry this summer. The forecast was based on current consumption rates and predictions of continued dry weather.

Meeker noted Monday during his annual State of the City address that the drought gripping the state is in its 10th month – about twice as long as previous droughts.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 12, 2008

    ""Going to Stage 2 should have been done probably back in August (or) September of last year,” Dean Naujoks, of the Neuse River Foundation, said.

    The foundation has long advocated for tougher water conservation.

    "This current City Council is now inheriting a lot of baggage from the previous City Councils that have really drug their feet in terms of moving forward with good water-conservation measures,” Naujoks said."

    Meeker is in his fourth term. It seems that Naujoks is blaming Meeker with his comment.

    Surely Naujoks can be protecting his buddy Meeker by saying the problems happend five city councils ago.

    If Naujoks is saying the problems happened five city councils ago, then we need to ask Meeker why he hasn't done anything to fix the problem during his four terms as Mayor.

    Meeker has been in control for 7 years.

    Meekers legacy will be the Mayor that let Raleigh go dry.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 12, 2008

    One good thing about this current water situation is that Meeker and his Socialist cronies won't get re-elected in 2009 after they let Raleigh dry up in July without water.

    Time for Fetzer to be elected Mayor of Raleigh again. Under Fetzer we always had enough water to flush, shower, drink, and wash our clothes.

    After 7 years of Meeker we will be out of water in August. Wait to go Meeker.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 12, 2008

    Instead of investing money to fix infrastructure and expand our water supplies, the city has pumped money into Meeker's Folly known as the Convention Center and the attached hotel.

    The city spent a million dollars to establish a 5 star restaurant in downtown Raleigh instead of investing in infrastructure and expanding our water supplies.

    The water pipes are in such bad shape in Raleigh that they estimate 15% of the water used in Raleigh is wasted through leaks in the water pipes. Seems that fixing this large leak would have been the biggest priority with this ongoing drought.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 12, 2008

    With Sev 2 water restrictions, why is the Pepsi bottling plant in Raleigh still allowed to bottle Aquafina from water in the Falls Lake and send it elsewhere.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 12, 2008

    We are not in a drought.

    Lakes Jordan, Kerr, and Gaston are near full pool.

    The grass, shrubs, and trees are still green and lush. If were in a severe drought, vegetation would have already dried up and died.

    The problem with Falls lake is that the City of Raleigh and the Corps of Engineers has oversold the capacity of the lake. They are using the drought story to cover their mismanagement of the lake through their negligence.

    If we were in a true drought, Jordan, Kerr, and Gaston would down similarly to the Falls lake. Instead Jordan, Kerr, and Gaston are near full pool.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 12, 2008

    Meeker and the City Manager refused to impose strict SEV 2 water usage rules last July and August when the National Weather Service said that we were going to have a dry fall, winter, and spring.

    Meeker and the City Manager were waiting for the Tropical Storm that never happened.

  • veyor Feb 12, 2008

    Wilson has the water it needs for it's people. Raleigh doesn't have enough. Raleigh needs a larger supply. I know this is a big oversimplication, but the Little River Reservoir has been PLANNED since the early 80's.

  • getrealpeople Feb 12, 2008

    "It seems SO obvious to use water from other lakes, rather than just falls. so why haven't we sprung into action to create these pipelines?
    Per WRAL story 11-07.. http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/2075391/
    "Raleigh water officials Wednesday began pumping water from Lake Benson into the Neuse River in a trade-off that will let them send less water from the Falls Lake Reservoir.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which controls Falls Lake, agreed to the switch. By sending 27 cubic feet per second from Lake Benson, the city will keep downstream flows intact for users there"
    Any other transfers have to be approved by Fed, State of NC, US fish & wildlife, US CORE, and etc, etc,

  • getrealpeople Feb 12, 2008

    "If you want to wash your car, go to Wilson. They don't have any restrictions. They do have long range thinking leaders however, i.e. the Buckhorn Reservoir." veyor

    what a Joke...Buckhorn is 850 acres of water & 350 acres of land. Falls Lake covers 12,000 acres of water and surrounded by 25,000 acres of land. The Raleigh-Durham area is almost 4 inches below normal rain for 2008. Raleigh uses 41 MGD now and over 70 MGD during summer. Wilson uses 9 mgd, about what Cary uses. You can still wash your car here at a car wash facility.
    Since 1-1-07 we are over 10.46" below normal. Wilson Population 44,000...students at NCSU 30,000. Raleigh has almost 400,000 people.

  • onyourheels2 Feb 12, 2008

    we're going to have the best roller hockey team in the country.

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