Durham has been under mandatory water restrictions for five weeks. Officials said tighter stage 4 restrictions could be just around the corner. With only 87 days of water left, Mayor Bill Bell said increasing restrictions is a real possibility.
"I know everyone wants to keep their lawns nice, but if you're telling me we can save 6 million gallons a day by not watering lawns, that's about a third increase, which would extend that from 90 days to 120 days, it's something we should seriously consider," he said.
Critics have wondered whether the city waited too long to implement mandatory restrictions, but conservation coordinator Vicki Westbrook said no one could have anticipated the reservoirs dropping so low.
"This situation continues to be something new for a lot of us. This is a 100-year drought. Our water supplies are built with 50-year safe yields, that means you might expect a really, bad drought every 50 years and that's what our facilities are built for," she said.
Stage 4 would mean residents could not water their lawns. Residents could hand water shrubs and vegetable gardens once a week. It would also mean businesses would have to cut their water consumption by 50 percent.
Copyright 2022 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.