Local News

Falls Lake Levels Continue to Rise

Posted March 14, 2008

— Falls Lake, the main source of water for customers on Raleigh's water system, continues to fill following heavy rains last week. On Friday, the lake measured 248.82 feet, or 2.68 feet below full. The water supply, assuming no further rain, would last for 265 days, or until Dec. 4. The next rain is forecast for Saturday.

Since the Raleigh system imposed Stage 2 water restrictions Feb. 15, average water use has fallen by about two million gallons per day -- from an average of 40.3 million gallons per day to an average of 38.4 million.

Still, city authorities warn that the drought conditions that prompted limits on outdoor watering, pressure-washing and car washes are still in evidence. Customers are urged to make themselves familiar with the restrictions, which apply to all City of Raleigh water customers, including those in Garner, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.

Water uses that are addressed by the ordinance include:

  • Outdoor irrigation is prohibited.
  • Low-volume drip irrigation is allowed for watering commercial containerized plants and commercial plant stock in trade.
  • Lawn and landscape irrigation establishment permits won't be issued.
  • Pressure-washing home exteriors, pavement, decks and other surfaces is prohibited.
  • Car washes are prohibited unless they have city-certified water recycling systems in place.
  • Water levels in swimming or wading pools may be supplemented only to the amount necessary to allow proper operation and sanitary pool conditions. Filling new pools or those drained for repair after Feb. 15 is prohibited.
  • Drinking water will not be served in public restaurants, except upon request.
  • Hotels will request guests spending more than one night to use their towels and bed linens more than once between laundering.
  • Buildings with water-cooled air-conditioners or heating equipment that don't recycle water must adjust thermostats to the highest and lowest settings, respectively, without adversely affecting health and safety.
  • Commercial and industrial customers must review their water uses and implement industry specific best management water conservation practices.
  • Leaking water services or plumbing must be repaired within 24 hours of written notification by the City’s Public Utilities director.
  • Developers that flush new water mains with city drinking water must capture the water in city-approved tanker trucks and haul the water to a Raleigh treatment plant at their own cost.

A first-time citation carries a $1,000 penalty, and subsequent violations would result in interruption of the customer’s water service.


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  • NCSULandscaper Mar 14, 2008

    its pretty easy why they still scream drought, the state would quit getting federal money to help "the people" out.

  • Fun Mar 14, 2008

    correct...takes about 6-9 gallons of water to wash your car at home....another Meekerscam

  • Funky Neighbor LEE Mar 14, 2008

    I'd better quit p'ing in the woods or that lake is going to overflow.

  • UNC81 Mar 14, 2008

    It's been reported time and time again that there is NO requirement for recycling water. The only requirement for carwashes is that they use under 55 gallons of water per car. Despite this, many do have recycling systems though.

    The car wash rule is over the top anyways. Just require a nozzle on home washing, problem solved!

  • RaleighRocks Mar 14, 2008

    The lake has become fuller from the rains we have had, PLUS the fact that an extra 17 million gallons of water per day are held back in the lake. The Corps of Engineers reduced the flow at the city's request(pleading). If they go back to releasing the "normal" level and drop back to Stage One restrictions, Falls will drop back down, but I am not sure as to how quickly.

    Why did we not go to the Feds for disaster relief help. It seems as though some funding could come to those who have been impacted by the lack of rain and the resulting retrictions. Any clues?


  • Leonardo Mar 14, 2008


    About your question as to why they don't dredge falls lake.

    There are several reasons. But probably the most important reason is that it wouldn't make economic sense to do so. Imagine how much effort it takes to dredge up a tanker car full of dirt, carry it somewhere, and drop it. It's very expensive. And what do you get in return for that expense? The lake can hold a tanker-car's capacity of additional water. It would be much much cheaper that in the event that the lake goes dry, you just ship in a tanker-car full of water from wherever there isn't a drought.
    Also, keep in mind that they were calling this an 800 year drought (probably an exaggeration, but probably still a once-in-a-hundred year event), and the lake never went below 40% capacity, despite the fact that nearly the whole time, we didn't have stage #2 water restrictions.

  • Fun Mar 14, 2008

    Increase fees will stay..bet ya and the reasoning will be "we have to have conservation for the long haul future protection of our resources"

  • 1Rx4FN Mar 14, 2008

    If Raleigh decides to relax water restictions in the future will they also repeal the fee increases that were added due to loss of revenue?

    seaobin - Maybe you can help me with this math problem. I had to read your post a few times and draw a couple of diagrams. :) A train leaves Station A at 12:00 traveling at 20mph and another train leaves Station B at 3:30 traveling the other direction at 30mph.....

  • Fun Mar 14, 2008

    So there ys go...the drought has been dated as beginning two years ago and was timely. No water conservation measure inacted at the time. Now....wanta bet drought is over? and Meekerville is sending out inspectors! Total incompetence!

  • busyb97 Mar 14, 2008

    Since it is supposed to rain on Saturday, just get your suds together, and when it starts raining- start washing that car :) Just do your neighbors a favor and don't wear any white T-shirts.