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Raleigh Set to Reclaim Its Water

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RALEIGH — Dry weather this summer has forced many towns and neighborhoods to adopt water conservation rules. Instead of rationing at the tap, why not re-use your water?

Experts say this project is the new wave in water conservation. It's helped a lot of water-strapped communities in California and Arizona. Starting next spring, Raleigh will reclaim its water.

It's not clean enough to drink, but experts say the 35 million gallons of treated waste water that daily rush out of Raleigh's Waste Treatment Plant are good enough for your yard.

"That's a sample of the quality of the effluent that we'll be reusing," explains public utilities director Dale Crisp.

Right now, all the gallons of treated water pour into the Neuse River. The Reclamation Project will allow dozens of homeowners to tap into the recycled resource. Less treated waste-water will flow into the Neuse, which will relieve some impact on the river and ultimately relieve the strain on our water supply and our wallets.

"The demand for irrigation is significant for the system," Crisp says. "We have abundant water in Falls Lake now. But as the area continues to grow, we need to use the water wisely."

This system will first go directly to the River Ridge Golf Course, which is now using drinking-quality water to irrigate. The golf course and homeowners in the River Ridge subdivision will be able to use the recycled water instead.

"We put in a sod lawn, and it was green and beautiful until about a month ago," says homeowner Barbara Mayette.

Mayette has been using a lot of drinking water to try to help her lawn beat the heat. She says she trusts the water quality test results, and she's looking forward to watering wisely.

"I think it's fantastic," Mayette says. "I think it's needed. We all should think about conserving at this point in time."

Water bills may go up for a while to help pay for this new system. But planners say in the long-run, the project will save homeowners money and save our water supply. The idea is that this new system will eventually be available to many other subdivisions and businesses.

Officials in Cary are also looking at plans for a similar project there.

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Landra Booker, Reporter
Greg Clark, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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