Easley ordered all state agencies to cut the use of nonessential water. Nonessential use includes watering for ornamental purposes such as fountains and reflecting pools, grass watering, vehicle washing and the use of water to wash down exterior impervious surfaces such as sidewalks.
Easley also asked public schools, community colleges and universities to follow the same guidelines.
"It gets to be real clear when you are talking about a flood, Hurricane Floyd flood, but it gets a little murkier when you are dealing with this," he said. "I believe the state has taken action. There are some that believe that we took it too quickly last time and there have been some criticism of that, and there are some who believe that we are still being too aggressive today, but I would rather have water and not need it than need water and not have it."
Easley is also naming a team that would help county governments to draft provisions for further water conservation efforts.
Since July, 75 percent of the state's population has been complying with voluntary restrictions.
Officials with the National Climatic Data Center say 27 states have significantly below-average rainfall. North Carolina has been suffering through a drought since 1998.
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