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Report: Nine ways to save Raleigh's water

Posted October 22, 2008

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— A river conservation group released a report Wednesday morning detailing how Raleigh can save water and money.

The report, "Hidden Reservoir: Why Water Efficiency Is the Best Solution for the Southeast," is aimed at making sure lakes and rivers remain fresh and full.

The group, American Rivers, claims Raleigh could save 40 percent of its water usage and save taxpayers more than $60 million if it follows the report’s nine steps:

  • Stop leaks: More than 6 billion gallons of water are lost each day in the U.S. thanks to aging water distribution systems. Leaks should be fixed to stop this massive waste of water.
  • Price water right: Water should be priced to cover costs and encourage efficiency.
  • Meter all water users: Water meters must be installed on all new homes, multifamily apartment buildings and businesses so water-users can measure and monitor their consumption.
  • Retrofit all buildings: If all U.S. households installed water-efficient fixtures and appliances, the country would save more than 8.2 billion gallons per day. That volume is the same as what it would take to supply all Southeast states with their entire public water demand and equals approximately 20 percent of the total U.S. public water supply.
  • Landscape to minimize water waste: On average, U.S. homes consume 30 percent of their water outdoors for watering lawns, thirsty plants and trees. By encouraging use of native and drought-tolerant plants and more efficient irrigation, communities would see significant water savings.
  • Increase public understanding: Communities should equip individuals with information about their own water use patterns and educate the public about smart, simple water-efficiency solutions.
  • Build smart for the future: Homes, businesses and neighborhoods should be designed to capture and reuse stormwater and to use gray water and rainwater for non-potable purposes. Building codes and ordinances should be updated to support or require the use of the most water-efficient technologies.
  • Return water to the river: To maintain healthy flows, a portion of water efficiency “savings” should be returned to rivers to serve as a “savings account” for a not-so-rainy day.
  • Involve water-users in decisions: Opportunities for significant water savings can be overlooked without the stakeholders at the table. Involving the water-users encourages higher rates of efficiency.

“Water efficiency is the 21st century solution to the drought-stricken Southeast’s water problems and must be the backbone of the region’s water supply plan,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.

“Our message to North Carolina’s leaders is that water efficiency should be the first source of supply. It simply makes no sense to build a dam or other expensive and damaging water-supply project, when water efficiency solutions are cost-effective, proven, and timely."

41 Comments

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  • magnus Oct 27, 2008

    Instead of having weird odd/even day schedules for when & how you can use your water, why not just go to a progressive rate system? Base rate is nice and low, but then the rate ramps up as consumption increases. Make it get ludicrously expensive for the guy across the street who can't stop playing with the hose.

    When I bought my house 2 years ago, Raleigh wouldn't turn on my water until I got a new meter. So as far as I know, Raleigh customers by-and-large are metered. Unfortunately I can't read my own meter. I don't know why they do this. I'd like very much to be able to track my own usage without having to wait for the bill to arrive.

  • jr1brown Oct 22, 2008

    AMEN! If we have a mild winter guess what? Natural gas and oil heating prices will go UP next year!

  • colliedave Oct 22, 2008

    Price water right: Water should be priced to cover costs and encourage efficiency

    And if one does practice efficency he will be hit with a higher bill to recover costs! Bring in someone from Wal-Mart who knows how to be brutaly effiencent. But to libs such as the Meekerites, Wal-Mart is the new evil empire.

  • jr1brown Oct 22, 2008

    Someone mentioned their long-term plan of getting water from Lake Gaston? That is wishful thinking. Wake Co. will NEVER get their greedy mouths in that lake. Stay away, you have been warned!

  • jr1brown Oct 22, 2008

    Does anyone remember their water bills going UP because we conserved so much water during last year's drought that the water company didn't make as much money? I sure do, why don't they put that tidbit in the article? As long as water and energy are owned by shareholders it will always be this way.

  • SheriffTruman Oct 22, 2008

    Their suggestion to meter every user does not "hold water" here. In some areas of California and the southwest, there are no meters and billing is by the size of the building, but around here, meters are on pretty much every connection going back decades.

    Also, to "bank" a certain amount of the savings by putting it back into rivers does not make too much sense, because a river cannot actually hold much water, just allow it to go downstream to somewhere else. If there were more reservoirs, then that is where you can bank water. As it is Fall slake must often dump excess water so it can be ready for flood control duty. Running more water in would mean more water out much of the time.

  • MrX-- Oct 22, 2008

    You water wasters just don't get it. Water is a finite resource that should be heavily conserved. It's not like if falls out of the sky.

  • bs101fly Oct 22, 2008

    here's Raleigh and NC's answer to everything,

    "Mandatory year-round conservation"

    MYR is all you people know isn't it. Socialism shouldn't be too much of a stretch for anyone, so there's NO excuse not to vote Obama!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 22, 2008

    All these tips in the article are a waste of our time. You can only save so much. There is PLENTY of water for all that want it. You just have to harness it. Building of reservoirs is the only REAL solution. Until we get serious and speed up the building of resevoirs, we will continue to have problems, regardless of how much water you save.

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Oct 22, 2008

    Mandatory year-round conservation and water restrictions. The odd-even watering schedule should be continuously enforced.

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