Local News

Wake County Educates Residents About Mandatory Water Restrictions

Posted June 6, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Water your lawn inCaryand you could be fined or arrested. The Town Council issued mandatory water restrictions Friday, and the water police have been out since then looking for, and catching, illegal sprayers.

No one has been fined, but about 60 residents were "educated" by the town on the water restrictions this weekend.

Jeff Smith is fed up. His lawn is slowly going from green to brown. He cannot use his $4,000 irrigation system as often as he would like because of Cary's mandatory water restriction.

"I've tilled this yard more times than I'd like to admit and put down seed and done everything but a rain dance out here to try to make it grow," said Smith.

Even with restrictions, Cary came dangerously close to tapping out Saturday. Water usage dropped Sunday, and before passing out multiple warnings and fines, the town will launch a public information campaign.

"We will be continuing to do cable TV, public notices, notices in advertisements in the newspaper, and we will be sending postcards to every utility customer informing them of their responsibilities under the mandatory water conservation program," said

Just down the road, Holly Springs has even tighter water restrictions. Residents cannot water at all during the day.

The town held a special meeting Monday night about stepping up its enforcement.

"We'll start issuing some fines. We have been issuing warnings, and we will probably go to a fine stage," said Mayor Gerald Holleman.

Right now, Holly Springs residents are on the odd-even watering schedules. Starting Tuesday, city employees will be stepping up water enforcement policies. If residents break the rules, they will pay

And extra enforcement may not be enough. Town leaders say they may need to impose further restrictions that include cutting down on car washes and filling pools.

Water restrictions in both the towns may last well into the fall. Smith worries the water restrictions may have an even greater lasting impact.

"As a homeowner here, I'm a little worried about property values. The city is going to get a reputation of not being able to manage growth. The roads are clogged up. The schools are clogged up, and now you can go to jail for watering your lawn," said Smith.

The main problem that is causing this is the drought that the Triangle had in May. Right now the ordinances are mainly targeted at lawn watering.