Local Politics

Easley: Statewide Water Curbs 'Pretty Positive'

Posted October 17, 2007 4:47 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2007 8:23 p.m. EDT

— Two days after he called for statewide water conservation, Gov. Mike Easley said Wednesday that he is pleased with how well communities are pitching in for the effort.

Easley urged all North Carolina residents on Monday to cut back water usage in an effort to head off a water crisis next spring. Most of the state is in the worst category  scientists have for drought conditions, and forecasts call for limited rain in the coming months.

The governor said lawn watering should end, people should stop washing their cars and everyone should try to conserve at least one gallon of water daily.

Many communities statewide had implemented voluntary or mandatory conservation measures in recent weeks, but Easley said he needed to "ratchet it up just a little" because some towns didn't realize how dire a situation the state faces.

"We took it up another notch, and I think people all of the sudden said, 'Whoa, he is talking about me,'" he said. "We are starting to see people comply a little bit more now, and they take it a little more seriously."

The governor met Wednesday with Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Bryan Beatty, representatives of the North Carolina National Guard and staff from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources to assess the water situation. He wanted to get an update on the state's plans for a possible water crisis and to ensure cities and public water systems were complying with his directive, spokeswoman Sherri Johnson said.

"Whether we have an inconvenience or crisis depends solely and completely on them," Easley said of local officials.

Since he put the state on notice, several Triangle cities and towns have followed his suggestion and have banned outdoor watering with sprinklers.

Durham's ban went into effect Tuesday. Apex will outlaw sprinkler use on Friday. Raleigh will tighten the taps next Tuesday – forcing several Wake County towns that buy water from the city to do likewise – and Cary and Morrisville residents will have to shut off their sprinklers on Nov. 1.

"So far, it has been pretty positive," Easley said of the conservation efforts.