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State orders Raleigh to redo drought plan

Posted March 23, 2009
Updated March 24, 2009

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— State officials have notified 12 municipal water systems, including Raleigh's, that their water-shortage response plans are insufficient to respond to the worst levels of drought.

The state Division of Water Resources sent letters Friday to the water systems to alert them to revise their plans and resubmit them to the agency for approval. The other 11 water systems notified are in western North Carolina.

Falls Lake full (March 23, 2009) Raleigh maintains water plan works

Dale Crisp, Raleigh's public utilities director, disagreed with the state's assessment about the effectiveness of the city's drought plan.

"What's worse than the worst drought in recorded weather history?" Crisp said. "We didn't run out of water. The city didn't come close to running out of water."

State officials said Raleigh's plan doesn't say how people will be notified to conserve water in a water emergency or who will implement the plan.

"We've been implementing (the plan). Maybe where we fell short is telling them what we have been doing," Crisp said.

The 2008 drought law requires that, if a system’s plan for reducing water use is deemed inadequate, the system must implement the state’s default water conservation measures within 10 days of an extreme drought declaration.

No part of North Carolina is currently under extreme drought conditions, so no water systems are required to implement water-conservation measures.

Doug Chapman, a member of the state's Green Industry Council, which represents landscapers and nursery owners, said he would like to see changes to the city's emergency water plan.

"You shouldn't have to turn the spigot off. What you have to do is manage," Chapman said.

Educating homeowners about how and when to water could reduce the need to implement tough water restrictions like those Raleigh put in place in late 2007, he said.

"Most landscapes are over-watered by up to 300 percent," he said.

The Division of Water Resources also approved response plans for 11 water systems, including those for Whispering Pines in Moore County and Carolina Trace near Sanford.

The drought law was enacted during the state’s worst drought on record to improve response to water emergencies. The parts of the law devoted to the water-shortage response plans are aimed at protecting water supplies from running out during times of serious drought.

6 Comments

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  • discowhale Mar 24, 2009

    B all means lets RETHINK the current plan, before we BUILD A NEW RESERVOIR!!

    Let's see if the voters remember all this not enough water, community center, greenway, arts projects nonsense when November 2010 and 2012 come around. My manually operated voting sense says it won't happen. It hasn't happened for the 35 years I've been voting here.

    Lemme guess, the liberals blame GWB for the water shortages.

  • veyor Mar 24, 2009

    The Little River Reservoir has been planned since the early 80s. I've come to the conclusion that it won't be built until we have a greenway within a block of everyone's house, enough civic centers to have 20 differnet events going on at the same time, and water rates 10 times what they are now with residents allowed to water their grass once a year. In Phoenix, in the DESERT, you can be fined for not watering your grass.

  • RaleighGator Mar 24, 2009

    I disagree with TarHeels. We need an external check on the reasonableness of the plans, and their execution. To my knowledge the planned East Wake reservoir has still not been approved (come on WRAL and N&O keep us informed); which means it is still years from construction, much less filled. We just saw on the news that even with the recession impacting our area we are still the fasted growing metro area in the country. I do agree that plans should be developed locally, but it is the state that is ultimately responsible for the maintenence of public health and safety. At a minimum I would expect the state to review and strongly comment on the plans. Drinkable water is not just a local city issue. I think this is one issue that Easley did get right (albight a little late). WATER is a state if not interstate issue. Remember the biggest interstate compacts in this country are for supplies of water and power.

  • Gab Mar 24, 2009

    The State should pick on our highly esteemed universities for watering their artificial turf athletic fields; talk about a waste of water...

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 23, 2009

    The state should stay out of it and let the cities that understand the local situation take care of it.

  • yabbadabbadooo Mar 23, 2009

    Didn't someone say they should have been using blue legos? I guess they were right...