Local News

Dry Times Far From Over In Durham, Orange Counties

Posted August 29, 2002 5:07 a.m. EDT

— Despite the recent rain over the past few days, people in Durham may be forced to cut back further on using water as soon as next week. Some Orange County customers may also see their water restrictions tightened.

Some people in Durham might be feeling cheated these days. They have not seen much of the rain that has pounded the eastern part of the state.

"We haven't been that lucky. It's almost as if there is a stealth shield around our watershed. The most we've gotten is just a little over an inch right up near Lake Mickie," said Vicki Westbrook, of the city of Durham.

Without showers, officials say tougher water restrictions are imminent.

"If we do not get substantial rain and we're talking 4, 5, 6 inches in the watershed right over there by Lake Mickie and Little River, we will be moving to stage 4 of our restrictions, probably immediately after Labor Day," Westbrook said.

The southern part of Lake Mickie still has water left. Durham also taps the Little River Lake, but officials say the city supply is now under 80 days.

"We still are 20-plus feet below full at both of our lakes," Westbrook said.

Down the road from Lake Mickie, people at Northern Bait and Tackle love to talk about fishing, but these days the conversation has changed.

"They joke about it and make light of it, but they are as concerned as everyone else here about no water," store owner Tom Ingram said.

Orange County is also in a similar predicament. This week's rain practically bypassed the county, leaving officials to consider more water restrictions.