Local News

Have Raleigh Water Rules Run Their Course?

Posted April 1, 2008
Updated April 2, 2008

— Triangle lake levels are continuing to rise with recent rainfall, and some communities are lifting water restrictions. However, Raleigh is not one of them, and outdoor watering may be illegal for a little while longer.

Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's primary reservoir, was at about 77 percent of capacity Tuesday, or about 1½ feet below normal.

Businesses that thrive outdoors would like nothing better than to see relaxed water restrictions.

Keeping plants alive without tap water "is certainly a challenge," said Joshua Logan with Logan's Trading Co., a nursery north of downtown Raleigh.

Logan's Trading Co. tries to capture thousands of gallons of rainwater in barrels. They also buy as much as 9,000 gallons of water a week from Franklin County.

"Certainly, we are looking forward to when the tap loosens up a little bit," Logan said.

The Raleigh City Council has given City Manager Russell Allen permission to ease rules and allow the use of hand-held hoses for watering once the lake reaches 90 percent.

"Still no spray irrigation or anything like that, but you could do hand-held," Allen said of potential Stage 1 restrictions.

There will be no sprinklers allowed until Falls Lake is full, he added.

Meanwhile, Raleigh is issuing more citations for water violations than ever before.

"Thousands of dollars of fines for violations of Stage 2 (water restrictions)," Allen said.

The city has written 36 tickets so far, about a third of those in the last week.

"It's just that when it rains and particularly when you see reports of nearby lakes being lifted, you think that maybe that's the same case here in Raleigh," Allen said.

It's not the case, however. Raleigh leaders said it is important for the lake to be full when the summer months begin and less rainfall is likely.

“We are optimistic and confident that it (Stage 1 restrictions) will be coming soon," Logan said.

For Falls Lake to fill up, rain needs to fall in places that are in its watershed, such as Durham, Franklin and Orange counties, Allen said.

Since the city adopted Stage 2 restrictions two months ago, daily water use has fallen more than 5 percent, to about 38 million gallons. Based on that demand level, Falls Lake has enough drinking water to last until Jan. 22, 2009, officials said.


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  • St Ives Apr 3, 2008

    No one needs to water their lawn more than once a week and only in weeks there is no rain. Why would we allow otherwise, water is scarce and will continue to be scarse in this area for a long time to come. It seems to me we need to be looking ahead more than a few weeks.

  • WooHoo2You Apr 2, 2008


    "Allow us to wash our own cars - better than the 55-gallons used at a car wash."

    Better then the average 10-16 gallons per minute a garden hose uses? A five minute wash could use 80 gallons of water and you would still have to clean 3 more tires and don't forget THE CAR.

    Drinking water or a dirty car...Showers or green grass... I hate tough decisions.

  • carolinakhaki Apr 2, 2008

    "I think it was funny that Cary released their water restrictions on Monday when the rain was pouring down. Hopefully no one felt the need to go turn their sprinkler on."

    Um...and why was that funny? Cary has simply gone back to the plan that's in effect year-round, which is to allow automatic watering three days a week. The fact that those guidelines are in place year-round also goes a long way toward explaining why Cary has plenty of water.

    The question I'd like to ask Raleigh's mayor is this: Why does the city have to wait until there's a crisis to realize it's a good idea to conserve natural resources?

  • Frank Downtown Apr 2, 2008

    Some sort of restrictions need to be on going. Yards do not need to be watered everyday.

  • Jeepguy Apr 2, 2008

    Raleigh does not want to be on restrictions. Guess how much money is lost due to the lack of the sale of water? Millions!!!! Raleigh needs to sell water!!! How will they make up this loss of revenue. That is why everyother water system eased restrictions. Stick it back to the city and do not use water and cause their budget short fall!!! Boycott water!! Stage 2 was only supposed to take effect when Raleigh had 90 days of water left. Let us Landscapers water our plants and make a living!!!!

  • Hagar the Terrible Apr 2, 2008

    After all that rain we had the last couple of days, the WRAL drought meter only moved .43". Is it side ways rain they are measuring?

  • veyor Apr 2, 2008

    keepitreal - that's the best idea I've seen yet. So, alas, the City will never even consider it.

  • methinkthis Apr 2, 2008

    No one needs to water a lawn this week. It sure would be nice to be able to hose the pollen off my car though. Let's fill Falls Lake before we start hosing off stuff, though.

  • They call me CATMAN Apr 2, 2008

    050462 YOU NEED TO GET A CLUE. WE ARE IN A DROUGHT SITUATION. DROUGHT MEANING an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. WE NEED WATER TO SURVIVE NOT WATER YOUR PRECIOUS LAWN.

  • keepitreal Apr 2, 2008

    Watering restrictions need to become objective rather than subjective. A formula like this would quiet down everyone.

    100% full- water 3 times a week, anytime of day.
    90% full- water 2 times a week during certain hours.
    80% full- water 1 time per week duirng certain hours.
    70% full- water by hand only.

    You get the idea. This flying by the seat of your pants and making up the rules as we go along is ridiculous.
    Reality is no one needs to water 3 times a week but between things like work and kids you may only get to water 1 or 2 of those days.

    Just use the KISS method
    It Simple Stupid