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Raleigh Is Hoping Corps Will Cut Falls Lake Flow in Half

Posted February 29, 2008

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— Each day, millions of gallons of water flow past Falls Lake’s dam to users living downstream along the Neuse River.

Raleigh leaders are asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cut that amount in half, to about 17 million gallons a day.

The Corps has been reviewing the request for the past two weeks, and local officials were expecting an answer Friday.

“We are confident the Corps and our congressional delegation will help us look at those issues,” said Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen.

It would not be the first time the Corps has cut the flow to help keep Raleigh from drying out.

Last week, the Corps agreed to reduce the amount of water coming out of the lake by 3 million gallons per day.

Raleigh leaders are also asking residents to release less water in their own homes. The City Council voted to ask all homeowners and business owners to install low-flow devices by this Saturday.

The devices fit on sink faucets and showers to minimize the amount of water people use.

The change can make a difference, officials say. The Wake County public schools used 229 million gallons of water last year. They estimate that low-flow devices will save 3 percent of that this year.

The city's concern with relying on low-flow devices to reduce demand is that there is no way to mandate it. The council can only ask residents to comply.

49 Comments

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  • foetine Feb 29, 2008

    you can't blame me for the drought - I've turned my backyard into a urinal so I'm "recycling" the water I drink.

  • flashlight Feb 29, 2008

    http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/neuse/basins.html

    Here's a map of the Neuse River Watershed, for a view of the bigger picture.

    How harsh are the water restrictions for communities downstream?

  • fedupwithitall Feb 29, 2008

    ohmygosh - "Typical city folk thinking. "We are the important ones, let the rest of the world croak""

    So, you think we should continue to artificially inflate the river level of the Neuse by allowing more water to flow out of the dam than what the feeder streams and rivers are putting into the lake? The only reason that communities downstream on the Neuse have not had problems is because the river level of the Neuse is determined pretty much solely by the amount of water discharged from the Falls Lake dam, and that discharge rate has not changed. Denver suffers from the same issue due to allocations of water in the Colorado river going into California.

  • fedupwithitall Feb 29, 2008

    Voice_0f_reason - that's a very good name for you.

  • Voice_0f_reason Feb 29, 2008

    Steve Crisp: "Kinda dramatically points out the ignorance of our city leaders how everyone else can manage their water supply except Raleigh."

    Ok, Steve, lets do the math. When a reservoir's OUTFLOW is GREATER than it's INFLOW, do you REALLY think Raleigh is going to be able to keep Falls Lake full? This has NOTHING to do with Raleigh's water supply management and EVERYTHING to do with the source of the supply of Falls Lake UPSTREAM.

  • EZGoing Feb 29, 2008

    After reading the front page headlines in the N&O today stating that car washes can now use 55 gallons per auto without being recycled I have no pity for Raleigh and their water woes. It is the city governments fault that growth got out of control and now they expect us to cut back on body showers, toilet flushes and other water uses just so some flashy dude can keep his ride clean. Give me a break.

  • fedupwithitall Feb 29, 2008

    Also, the plan to reduce the discharge from Falls Lake dam makes a lot of sense. Since the amount of water flowing into the lake is about 50% - 75% less than normal, why is the normal amount being released from the lake? If the lake was not there, people downstream would also be seeing 50 - 75% less water. The only reason they are not is because a lot more water is being released from the lake than what is flowing into the lake. Make sense? It would make a lot of sense to reduce the outflow to match the inflow.

  • jbyrd Feb 29, 2008

    I remember well when Falls lake was filled that there were many that warned it would not be enough to quench Raleigh's thirst in the near future. Those same folks are probably somewhere saying "I told you so" Aint this typical of the American way of doing things? Live for today, make the quick buck, and don't worry about who it may hurt.

  • fedupwithitall Feb 29, 2008

    OK folks..here goes...an education into the real problem. One of Falls Lakes main feeders is the Eno River. It is currently down approx. 50% in level to 1 - 1.5 feet, resulting in reduced water flow of approx 75%. Combined with a small lake size, small watershed, it is suffering from, get this, a drought, and what is probably the worst in the state. As Jerome so eloquently stated, the communities that rely on Lake Jordan have had just as much as, if not more in some cases, growth than Raleigh. Lake Jordan is simply much more resilient to drought conditions. If you pay attention, the entire southeastern US has been affected by this drought, it is not just Raleigh. In normal years, and even years of moderate drought, Falls Lake could definitely handle the population. The truth is, this drought was an extreme situation. Many people did not change their behaviors and start conserving, and these people (often new to the area and have no clue) are still complaining about their lawns.

  • fedupwithitall Feb 29, 2008

    jerome75 - "as has been mentioned many, many times, jordan is at full capacity because it has a MUCH larger drainage area, and is MUCH larger lake. CAry gets its water from Jordan, and I don't think it's growth is any better controlled than Raleigh."

    Thank you sir! You are probably the most informed person posting comments in here today.

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