Dwindling Water Supply Means Stage 2 Restrictions For Raleigh Customers
Posted November 15, 2005 9:33 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to step up water restrictions already in place for city water customers.
Under the Stage 2 mandatory restrictions, which go into effect 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, customers in violation of the ordinance will face a $200 fine for a first offense, $1,000 for a second offense and would have their water shut off after a third violation.
The City Council's move was approved despite a reduction in daily use of 22.3 percent since the city was put under mandatory restrictions on Nov. 1. The goal for Stage 2 is 40 percent.
The National Weather Services rain gauge station stands at 8.73 inches below normal for year-to-date rainfall. At current average daily use, the lake level is dropping .10 feet, or 1.2 inches, feet each day.
If current consumption levels continue with no rain, Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said Wednesday that the city could be out of water by Jan. 26.
City officials are working with the state and Army Corps of Engineers to supplement the city's water supply. One option involves using the Beaver Dam Reservoir.
"We are trying to look at whether it could be slowly drained to augment the lake," Allen said.
Another option, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said, would be to get water from Lake Benson and Crabtree Creek to offset the discharge of the lake.
With Stage 2 restrictions in place, city water customers can only water lawns twice a week. Properties with odd-numbered addresses can water lawns on Tuesdays and Saturdays; properties with even-numbered addresses on Wednesday and Sundays.
The new restrictions will also have an impact on small businesses. Power-washing driveways and patios is only allowed for public health and sanitary reason, not for cosmetic purposes -- meaning companies that clean houses, driveways and roofs cannot operate.
The City Council also authorized Allen to move to Stage 3 mandatory restrictions once Falls Lake, Raleigh's main water source, drops below its record level of 242.73 feet, which was recorded on Nov. 27, 1993. The lake stands only .59 feet above that low at 243.32 feet.
Stage 3 restrictions would ban all lawn irrigation, except by hand-held hoses. Fines for first offenses would be $1,000 and all businesses would be asked to cease any non-essential watering.