Local Politics

Legislators discuss drought legislation

Posted July 3, 2008 5:13 p.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2008 7:46 p.m. EDT

— Lawmakers discussed drought legislation Thursday that seeks to tighten the tap.

The legislation seeks to require more large water users to directly report their consumption to the state. In addition, it would establish statewide minimum mandatory restrictions depending on the extent of drought. It would also include well users in restrictions.

“There were a few hard heads out there that made it difficult for all the other cities and counties and we just want something in place that lets us get their attention early on so we don't have a problem,” Gov. Mike Easley said.

Easley said it’s too easy to forget how bad the drought was last year. He said residents also need to think about how desperate it could get in the near future. North Carolina faces worse drought conditions now than at the same time in 2007.

Some lawmakers worry the drought legislation could be weakened by people who resist restrictions.

“We're looking at more frequent and more extreme drought. So, we need to be way more proactive than we're being and I applaud the governor for taking some leadership on this. I'm frustrated by the special interests trying to water this bill down,” Rep. Pricey Harrison, (D-Guilford County), said.

The legislation would also give Easley more power to issue emergency water restrictions if drought conditions warrant.

The legislation was discussed in committee Thursday. It is expected to be revisited next week.