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Raleigh water usage on the rise

Posted June 16, 2008

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— Water usage is down 10 to 20 percent from a year ago, city officials say, but up to more than 50 percent from four months ago when the city was in extreme drought conditions.

"We had a 66-million gallon day last week," Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist with Raleigh's Public Utilities Department, said.

At the height of the city's mandatory water restrictions, water use averaged 38 million gallons a day. About 56 million gallons were used last Monday. Days when outdoor watering is allowed cause the usage to increase more.

Increased temperatures seem to be causing the increase in usage, Buchan said. People tend to bathe more, do more laundry and attempt to bring the lawns back to life.

Falls Lake, Raleigh's main source for water, is just below the normal limit at 251.5 feet at 251.21 feet.

But Buchan said the area is still in moderate drought conditions and inflows to the lake have been low.

"When that's the case, it doesn't just barely come down, it starts to come down fairly quickly, especially with the high rate of evaporation right now," Buchan said.

Mandatory water conservation measures are in place, and the city is enforcing them. More than 50 people have been fined for violating the State I restrictions, which permit city water customers to irrigate their lawns two days a week.

More than 50 homeowners have been fined – half for irrigating on the days not allowed.

"We'll get a lot of people," Buchan said. "We do respond to citizen complaints, and we find out the location and times and things like that, no matter if it's at night. We'll make an effort to be there."

Under the current conservation measures, sprinklers are allowed on Tuesdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered addresses. Even-numbered addresses can use them Wednesdays and Sundays. Automatic irrigation systems can be used between midnight and 10 a.m. Hose-end sprinklers are allowed from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10pm.

Watering with a handheld hose is allowed anytime.

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  • PeaceOut2017 Jun 17, 2008

    I'm watering my yard tonight, I'd rather have a nice green yard than drinking water. I get free water at work

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jun 17, 2008

    oh NOOOOOO!!! this is awful, we are ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!

    Sure glad we keep the public informed on this trivial information, it ain't news unless you can spin some drama out of it!

  • 1 of the original Americans Jun 17, 2008

    what is it with ywall? why were the water restrictions ever lifted Why is it sooo important to water your lawns when you have no water to drink?

  • Scubagirl Jun 17, 2008

    I would like someone to explain factually why irrigation wells that take water from the water table does not affect our water supply. something about this doesn't make real sense to me so I'm throwing it out there for logical explanation.
    Thanks

  • john60 Jun 17, 2008

    Rainfall this year is lower than it was last year. At this time of the year last year the reservoir was full too, and we know what happened after June then. Sure we're at "Stage 1" restrictions, but the local officials are still using their same old "wait and see" tactics that put us into a near emergency situation last year.

    With less rainfall already, what will happen if the summer's another hot dry one? Wait and see.

  • sumpinlikedat Jun 17, 2008

    "That means water revenues are up 50% and Meeker will do the right thing and not enact the higher water rates right?"

    No, it means that because people can't seem to stop watering their lawns when it's just stopped raining, washing their jeans after one wearing, running the hose the entire time they're washing their cars, and taking showers every 5 minutes all day long, they're going to have to charge more for water NOW, and they're going to have to continue to raise rates.

    Laws of supply and demand, people. Supply will go down, and demand will continue to go up.

  • Gatsby Jun 17, 2008

    Keep building...Thats the answer because as we all know more sub-divisions do not contribute to the water shortages.

    Thank goodness that the housing bubble busted...

  • sumpinlikedat Jun 17, 2008

    "In short, as they say on fark.com, the lake is four inches low...EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!!"

    Holy cow, another Farker on here. Small world.

    "How about a 1000 dollar fine on Meeker per new user?"

    BREAKING NEWS: The mayor does not control how many people move into the area. Story at 11.

    People are morons. Hey, the restrictions are down to level 1! Must mean we can use as much water as we want with no repercussions later when it gets to be mid- to late-summer, and the rain has stopped!

  • waterUser Jun 17, 2008

    Ed,
    I read with dismay today that water usage is way up...with restrictions down to Stage 1, it infuriates me to see both residents and businesses water their lawns right after and even during rains.

    Why doesn't the city simply ban all lawn watering, period...it's just grass for god's sake. Plants can be watered by hand to maintain them, power washes can be used to occasionally do homes, cars can reasonably be washed with a gallon or two of water (I do it all the time)...but to water lawns during any stage of drought seems absurd and flat out stupid to me.

    I lived in souther Ca. for 20 years....water has been and still is at a premium there...people know not to water lawns...it is the culture....
    Raleigh needs to cultivate this same notion in it's citizens; otherwise, we will continue down this road time and time and time again.

  • onyourheels2 Jun 17, 2008

    so is lawn mower use.

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