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State Experts Not Comfortable With Cities Lifting Water Restrictions

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Some city leaders across North Carolina have voted to drop mandatory water restrictions, but some question whether that is a good idea.

Last Friday's storms wiped out Raleigh's water shortage. The rain and runoff raised Falls Lake by 7.5 feet. Raleigh's water supply had dropped to 105 days, and city leaders considered increasing restrictions on lawn watering. On Tuesday, the City Council voted to lift all restrictions, even though state experts advise cities to keep conserving.

"Totally lifting restrictions, I'd be careful doing that because it's more difficult to get people to go back to restrictions once the rain is gone," said Johanna Reese, of the state Department of Environment.

The town of Cary has enforced water restrictions yearround since 1995. At the height of the drought, Cary's water supply never dropped below 160 days. Cary leaders decided years ago to make conservation a way of life.

"Everyone's consciousness has been raised so that the 50 inches of water a year we're accustomed to is not guaranteed," said Cary public utilities director Rob Bonne.

Raleigh leaders feel comfortable lifting restrictions now that Falls Lake is full, but they will ask residents to keep conserving voluntarily. Durham, Fayetteville and Chatham County leaders also lifted mandatory restrictions Tuesday.


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