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Raleigh Sets Conditions for Easing Water Rules

Posted March 18, 2008
Updated March 19, 2008

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— The City Council voted Tuesday to end Stage 2 water restrictions once Falls Lake reaches 90 percent of its normal level and to allow limited outdoor watering if the lake reaches its capacity.

The city's primary reservoir, Falls Lake was about 74 percent of its normal level Tuesday, holding 10.8 billion gallons. When full, the lake holds 14.6 billion gallons.

The city imposed Stage 2 restrictions on Feb. 15, preventing the use of municipal water for outdoor irrigation and pressure washing. The rules also shut down car washes that didn't meet city conservation standards and called on restaurants and hotels to cut back on their water consumption.

Since then, daily water use by Raleigh and six area towns on the municipal system has dropped by about 5 percent, from 40.3 million to 38.3 million gallons a day, officials said.

But the Stage 2 restrictions have adversely affected businesses like landscapers and power-washers, and Mayor Charles Meeker said he wanted to ease some rules on hard-hit businesses after recent rains helped replenish Falls Lake.

After hovering around 8 feet below normal for much of the year, the lake is now just over 2 feet below normal. The available drinking water should last through at least Dec. 27, officials said.

The City Council gave City Manager Russell Allen the authority to lift Stage 2 restrictions once Falls Lake reaches 13.2 billion gallons. The move would primarily affect businesses, although residents could once again use hand-held hoses to water their lawns, shrubs and flowers.

If spring rains completely replenish Falls Lake, municipal water customers could return to using sprinklers twice a week under the Stage 1 rules that were in effect from last August until October.


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  • PACKFAN08 Mar 19, 2008

    That's Great Idea, Let's ease the restrictions that no one in Raleigh is following anyways. People it can happen, the water supply can run out. Having green grass and washing your car are not that important. But, then again this is Wake Co we are talking about.

  • mmania Mar 19, 2008


    I must agree Raleigh is retarded. Why ease restrictions? Pretty soon they'll be right back where they started. Keep restrictions in place and you're guaranteed water, let them go and people will act like there's no tomorrow and use, use use.

  • veyor Mar 19, 2008

    As long as there is water in Falls Lake, the people downstream will have the same amount of water each day - sort of like letting water out of a bathtub. So if the people downstream have enough volume now, they will have enough until the lake dries up. I know so many on here are just longing for the government to restrict their lives as much as possible, but sadly, the drought is over.

  • rumbleehockey04 Mar 19, 2008

    i guess when you have plans to tap into every lake in the state for water you can start to throw away water again. raleigh is retarded, i still wish falls lake would totally dry up but it looks like it wont happen now. maybe the corps will open the dam back up and they'll have to reimplement the restrictions

  • getrealpeople Mar 18, 2008

    why would there be an effect on the river??? The ACOE increases the release when the gauge at Clayton falls below minimum flow for winter or summer. As is we are artificially maintaining the water flow. The reason other water supplies are not online now and supplying water is because over regulation is putting fish and aquatic life over human life. Look at the request for water from Kerr lake and the permitting regulations for Little River and lake benson.

  • commonsence Mar 18, 2008

    Raleigh Asks Franklin County Not to Drink From Neuse

    Posted: Feb. 19, 2008

    Raleigh, N.C. — Mayor Charles Meeker sent a letter to Franklin County commissioners Tuesday, asking the county to back off its plans to to draw drinking water from the Neuse River.

    Franklin County is looking at building a $23 million pump station and pipeline that would pull water from the river near the former Burlington Mills textile plant off U.S. Highway 1 north of Raleigh.

    Officials have said using an intake pipe at the plant, which closed more than a decade ago, would be a cheaper and easier option to serve the growing southern end of than extending more lines from Henderson and Kerr Lake, where Franklin County now gets its water. Most of the county would continue to rely on Henderson and Kerr Lake for its water, they said.

    "From the city of Raleigh's perspective, this is just a bad idea, and we need to say so clearly and forcefully," Meeker said. "There's no way the city of Raleigh can really co

  • commonsence Mar 18, 2008

    The Raleigh City Council voted in early January to ask the Corps to reduce discharges from Falls Lake into the Neuse River by 40 percent to 9 million gallons a day. The Corps manages the dam at Falls Lake, which also serves as Raleigh's primary reservoir.

    State environmentalists, however, warned that a reduction of that magnitude could have devastating effects on rivers and streams, many of which are already drying up due to the drought.

    "I think that it's important for people to remember the big picture," Susan Massengale, spokeswoman for the state Division of Water Quality, said.

  • commonsence Mar 18, 2008

    ok, lets try this,,, dirty car, no grass or shurbs,, i can live with,,, no water for drinking or for crops, i can't live with, take a good look at lake mead in Nevada and the farm country above the hoover dam,, and look at eh bath tub ring above the dam too,,, does vegas realy need all those fountains ? do we need all those green lawns and clean cars in Rtown ? it is very interesting to watch people attack each other on this site, now i know why i don't post any more,,, i guess if any one ever left the city and had to pump thier water through a hand pump just to drink and cook, maybe they would know water is not a god given right to waste,, visit a third world county sometime and maybe you would stop your petty complaints,,, be thank full you can turn on the water in the house and you are not sitting in some shack out back to do your business

  • getrealpeople Mar 18, 2008

    Raleigh diind't reduce the discharge from Falls lake, the us acoe did.
    Franklin county wants to use intake below falls lake which would require more release so they have water. Also that is IBT which is limited and hard to approve..
    They are fighting the upstream discharges into Falls ( Butner Fed. Bio Defense lab) cause you will drink that water they discharge to Falls lake.
    They are managing the water for 400,000 people and they can't seen to please anyone of you on here who are sooo smarter.

  • PhillyEaglesFan Mar 18, 2008

    "Wrong....you cannot water in Cary ANY days....it has been completely restricted.

    Actually you can water in Cary, you just can't use an automatic sprinkler.

    Question from Cary's Water FAQ. www.townofcary.org

    3. What are the new rules for outdoor watering? Can I water my lawn at all?

    The Town of Cary is suspending the use of irrigation systems, sprinklers, or other automated watering devices. Hand watering is still allowed any day of the week. As long as a person is physically holding the watering device - such as a hose - it is considered hand watering in Cary.