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Raleigh's Water Supply Stretches to 2009

Posted March 26, 2008

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— Thanks to recent rains and strict water-conservation measures, Falls Lake has enough drinking water to last into next year, officials said Wednesday.

The available drinking water in Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's primary reservoir, should last through Jan. 12, 2009, based on current consumption levels, officials said.

Since Raleigh imposed Stage 2 restrictions on municipal water system customers on Feb. 15, daily water use has fallen about 5 percent, to 38.2 million gallons. Usage over the most recent 30 days is even lower, officials said, averaging 38 million gallons.

Stage 2 restrictions outlawed the use of city water for outdoor irrigation or pressure washing, closed car washes that hadn't been certified by the city and required hotels and restaurants to urge water conservation among customers. The city has cited 26 individuals and businesses for violating the restrictions, an offense that carries a $1,000 fine.

Heavy rains a few weeks ago added more than 5 feet to Falls Lake, which remains about 2 feet below normal levels. The lake is about 76 percent of capacity, and the City Council has given City Manager Russell Allen permission to ease some water restrictions once the lake recovers to 90 percent of capacity.

The Triangle region remains under extreme drought conditions, and rainfall recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since the beginning of 2007 is 9.4 inches below normal.

Meanwhile, Harnett County plans to ease its water restrictions on Friday, moving to alternate-day watering outdoors and allowing people to wash cars and pressure wash their homes.

Moore County is heading the opposite direction, banning car washing for customers in Pinehurst and Seven Lakes and limiting outdoor watering to between 5 p.m. and midnight, beginning April 1.

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  • common_sense_plz Mar 27, 2008

    It will only remain at this level if we continue to get rain. and when we hit summer, we typically do not get much rain. If the city is smart, they will continue the restrictions, and if those at the county level are also smart, they will stop handing out building permits for housing developments. Sure this area is growing, but it appears that there is enough housing since so many are in foreclosure. the lake will remain at decent levels if people are not allowed to water their lawns with the water that is needed to sustain life, reclaimed water should be fine since it cannot be used for human consumption, but that too needs to be used sparingly, at the most twice a week for watering lawns. Good luck to us all if they do not uphold those restrictions.

  • john60 Mar 27, 2008

    Nice to see the council apologists are out in force now that the water crisis appears to be over. Just because the rains came when the predictions were for a dry spring doesn't mean that future planning needs to take place (and I'm NOT talking about plans that take effect 10 years from now). However, with the reservoirs nearly full I expect the Council will quickly forget and postpone indefinitely any further studies for water contingency plans. I also expect to hear further self-congratulatory comments from the Council about how well their existing plans handled this water shortage.

  • MarcoPolo Mar 26, 2008

    So now we have too much water. I suspect some of these smaller towns around Raleigh and is currently under contract with Raleigh for their water are telling the socialist mayor Meeker to stuff it. Like Holly Springs, I think others will move on with their own alternatives. This will leave Raleigh with even more water.

    People whining about development are probably concerned with population growth and their own property values versus the concern with natural resources. People are having a hard time selling their existing houses with all the newbies popping up.

    They really have blown this completely out of proportion. It's all about citizen behavior control. For goodness sake, we can't even have a garbage disposal or smoke outside in a park. These crazy liberals are out of control. City council needs a serious shakeup. We need more Isleys- that man must feel very alone with all these nutjobs working on the council next to him.

  • TheAdmiral Mar 26, 2008

    The city council is not interested in stopping the building permits. It is their revenue source for all of those dropping water use rates that they want to charge.

  • dws Mar 26, 2008

    "I don't know what better planning you want than that. I suppose nothing less than having an infinite supply of water at all times would please you.
    Leonardo

    "planning" used in context with the Raleigh City Council is an oxymoron......watching their slapstick antics has been great comedy relief

  • Leonardo Mar 26, 2008

    DontBelieveTheHype: "Leonardo - it drives me nuts when we have a city council that is reactionary and doesn't have the vision to plan 10 years ahead. Ten years ago they had the growth data and did nothing about it (with respect to water conservation or expansion). Granted, this drought is almost worst-case scenario, but shouldn't they have planned for it?"

    Whatever. Despite the worst-case scenario, we only had to endure about 1 month of stage 2 restrictions, and even that was only as a precaution. I don't know what better planning you want than that. I suppose nothing less than having an infinite supply of water at all times would please you.

  • DontBelieveTheHype Mar 26, 2008

    Leonardo - it drives me nuts when we have a city council that is reactionary and doesn't have the vision to plan 10 years ahead. Ten years ago they had the growth data and did nothing about it (with respect to water conservation or expansion). Granted, this drought is almost worst-case scenario, but shouldn't they have planned for it?

  • Leonardo Mar 26, 2008

    chfdcpt: "I think this is a great time for the city to start to come up with the money to expand or to build a new water reservoir. After all, Raleigh only needs to issue 3,200 building permits to make $8,000,000 dollars in impact fees. That should pay for the cost of increasing or building an new reservoir."

    What the heck? It drives me nuts when people assume that the city isn't doing anything simply because they haven't heard anything because they don't pay attention to the news. If you had, you would have realized that Raleigh is building a new water treatment plant on Lake Benson, and is creating the new Little River reservoir in Eastern Wake County, and that these alone would supply Raleigh with an adequate supply through at least 2030. And they're investigating long-term plans of pulling water from Kerr Lake. So just because YOU haven't heard about it doesn't mean nothing is being done.

  • Leonardo Mar 26, 2008

    whatelseisnew:

    Sorry...but the area growth still had little to do with it. There were water issues all over the state, not just in little old Raleigh. And many other areas were in a much more severe situation.

    The fact is that stage 2 restrictions were unnecessary. Raleigh was correct in implementing it as a precaution, but our water supply would have been just fine had we stuck with stage 1.5 restrictions. This despite the fact that hydrologists were calling this the worst hydrological drought in 800 years, and Raleigh did not implement any serious water restrictions until late last year. Sorry...but it seems like to me that Raleigh has an adequate water supply to me, and they have plans of expanding it in the future. I simply do not see this as a failure of policy. And it's unreasonable to expect that any water supply (unless your on Lake Michigan) will not require some water restrictions during droughts.

    A year from now, this drought will be nothing more than a memory.

  • jenstog Mar 26, 2008

    'I think this is a great time for the city to start to come up with the money to expand or to build a new water reservoir. After all, Raleigh only needs to issue 3,200 building permits to make $8,000,000 dollars in impact fees. That should pay for the cost of increasing or building an new reservoir.'

    EXACTLY. I'd love to see our city act instead of react for once please!

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