Local News

Major Water Users Discuss Water Conservation Campaign

Posted February 20, 2008
Updated October 21, 2011

— The city of Raleigh got together with major water users Wednesday night to work on a plan to save every drop they can of what is rapidly becoming a precious commodity.

Since Stage 2 water restrictions went into effect last Friday, Raleigh’s water demand has dropped by about 1 million gallons a day. As Falls Lake, Raleigh's primary water source, continues to drop, however, the City Council is looking at Stage 3 restrictions.

The prospect of tougher restrictions has business owners worried and looking for ways to conserve without cutting into profits.

"We intend to work with the city of Raleigh and this community with whatever measures are necessary for conservation,” Pepsi Vice President of Operations Matthew Bucherati said.

At the Pepsi Bottling Plant in Raleigh, water is the main ingredient. Pepsi was one of the businesses invited to the city's first Water Conservation Council meeting.

The group discussed plans for a TV public service announcement featuring a local celebrity urging people to conserve water, but some people said they fear that will not be enough.

“The biggest concern is we're not very well prepared to go beyond the kinds of conservation measures that are being asked for now,” said Dr. David Moreau with the Water Resources Research Institute.

Falls Lake is about 8 feet below normal levels. Officials have said it has enough drinking water to last at least through June 17 if conditions do not change.

"Obviously, we are looking at every scenario – worst and best case(s),” said City Council Member Nancy McFarlane.

Stage 2 restrictions banned outdoor watering and pressure-washing, closed car washes that don't recycle water and required restaurants and hotels to cut back on water use.

Ideas on the table for Stage 3, which has never been defined, include requiring restaurants to use disposable plates and requiring businesses to place containers of hand sanitizer in public restrooms to cut down on hand washing. Also, exemptions in Stage 2 regulations, such as allowing car washes that recycle water to remain open, could be eliminated under tougher rules.

"Hopefully we will get relief, but on the other hand we should be prepared to deal with the worst case," Moreau said.

The Water Conservation Council plans to develop a message about conservation at its next meeting.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • SheriffTruman Feb 21, 2008

    I can wash my car at home with 15-20 gallons without even trying hard. But, no one is allowed to do that, but instead they can go and use 55 and pay for the privelege. Nice!

  • Kilroy Feb 21, 2008

    "Note that up to 55 gallons per vehicle is permitted."
    I noticed that also. Only carwashes using more than 55gals. per vehicle are required to recycle/reclaim water. To hear Meeker and the press talk about Stage 2/3, they imply that all the open carwashes on the list recycle water.

  • cherriedragon Feb 21, 2008

    LOL..a tv ad? forget the local celebrity..they should have a family of unbathed children wearing dirty clothes, standing on dead grass with it all dusty and dry in the background...then one child speaks up and says "my mom says the only way I can take a bath this summmer is if I take a bar of soap to the pool"

  • Rolling Along Feb 21, 2008

    Great...we are having another meeting on how to "save" water. Lets see some meeting on how they plan on solving the problem, as in, new sources for water. Obviously Falls Lake is no longer sufficient for the overbuilt Raleigh area. Another case of Poor Prior Planning making an emergency on someone else's part.

  • blackdog Feb 21, 2008

    ...if the local economy is so dependent on construction, then we are doomed eventually. There is only so much land, room, and W-A-T-E-R...
    The existing local builders could grow at a steady rate. When companies come in with "imported" workers, the resources dwindle faster. Alot of that money is going out of state, and country.

  • Rocknhorse Feb 21, 2008

    "A pressure washer uses 3 to 5 gallons a minute."

    The misconception is that they use this much water in constant flow. The fact is, pressure washers do not run constantly. Yes, when they are running, they have a gals/min rating, but anyone who has ever done pressure washing knows that when you are washing, the machine does not run constantly.

    Pressure washers are NOT a large drain on the water supplies. I find it interesting that the City Council voted to restrict the smaller companies w/o the benefit of feedback/discussion, yet they will host a meeting to "discuss" options with the large industries.

    I think it's time for the elected officials to take into consideration ALL the industries affected and hold ALL corp consumers to similar expectations.

  • HadEnough Feb 21, 2008

    I agree with Blackdog. The problem in this town is that people are so into themselves they don't care about civic issues.

  • WHEEL Feb 21, 2008


  • veyor Feb 21, 2008

    "As Falls Lake...continues to drop", it's up 2 feet since the end of December.

  • blackdog Feb 21, 2008

    ...we need a little less discussion, and a little more action....