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Chatham County, Durham Follow Raleigh's Lead In Water Conservation

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DURHAM, N.C. — Chatham County and Durham city officials issued mandatory water conservation measures, just two days after the Raleigh City Council voted to enact a mandatory restriction in the Capital City and surrounding communities.

With well-below normal levels of the municipalities' main water supplies -- Lake Michie and Little River Lake in Durham and Jordan Lake in Chatham County -- officials urged water customers to begin conserving immediately.

"We encourage our customers to be creative and think of other ideas for saving water, since this is a critical situation," said Chatham County Utilities Director Will Baker. "We expect customers to assume responsibility for taking these actions, which will help us avoid more serious restrictions and possible water shortages.

Jordan Lake has dropped to nearly 3.5 feet below normal because of the major rainfall shortage. Lake Michie and Little River Lake have each received 3.51 and 2.51 inches of rain causing a deficit of about 7.45 inches in the Durham area.

Durham City Manager Patrick Baker enacted Stage III moderate mandatory conservations, which are effective Monday.

"It is critical that our customers follow these mandatory restrictions to ensure that there is an adequate water supply for all," Baker said. "We need to significantly decrease our daily water usage and our customers play a vital role in making sure we achieve this goal."

Durham is currently withdrawing about 3 million gallons of water per day from the Eno River as a supplemental water supply and expects, with mandatory restrictions in place, to decrease daily water supply by 20 percent.

Under each set of conservation measures issued by officials, water customers are prohibited from washing vehicles and filling pools or decorative structures.

Under Stage III mandatory conservation measures, Durham water customers can water lawns only on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Chatham County water customers in violation of the restrictions will be fined $50 for a first offense, a misdemeanor. Subsequent violations, however, would result in $100 fines and termination of county-provided water.

Mandatory water restrictions also take effect Monday in Siler City, where first-time offenders will face a $500 fine, and second-time offenders will be fined $500 and must appear in court. Those who violate the restrictions at least three times could have their water shut off by the city.

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