Raleigh, N.C. — Rain barrels were put to good use across the Triangle during Sunday's rainfall. But some residents of a Wake County neighborhood say their water conservation efforts are being hampered by their homeowners association’s image concerns.
To do his part to conserve water, Wakefield Plantation resident Michael Dadian installed eight rain barrels on his property in February.
“We have four children and when they come home from school, they ask us questions like, 'Dad, what else can we do?'” he said.
Dadian heard Friday that most of his rain barrels would have to go. The Wakefield Plantation Homeowners Association decided having too many rain barrels didn't fit the neighborhood's image.
“To maintain the visual impression, especially from the street, for our community,” Greg Barley, with the Wakefield Plantation Homeowners Association, said of the reason behind the rain barrel limit.
Wakefield Plantation is only allowing homeowners to have two rain barrels per home. They also have to be a particular color and kept in certain spots on the property.
“To choose to enforce this rule, it just seems contrary to what the governor's asking us to do,” Dadian said.
In December, Gov. Mike Easley said it was everyone's "patriotic duty" to conserve water in the face of the worst drought in North Carolina history.
Dadian said he questions why the homeowners association made such a decision in the midst of the drought.
“We're trying to do our part here by conserving water and this is just one small step towards that,” Dadian said.
“We want to encourage people to go ahead and use them (rain barrels) where they see fit. It's just like most additions, we like to have them usually out of view,” Barley said.
The homeowners association said there is an appeal process and it is possible some houses will be allowed more than two barrels.
Dadian said he plans on making that appeal.
Thanks to recent rains and strict water-conservation measures, available drinking water in Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's primary reservoir, should last through Jan. 12, 2009, 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.