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Cary Proposes To Stop Installation of Irrigation Systems

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CARY — The town ofCaryis thinking of limiting how lawns can be watered.

People like Joleen Smith spend thousands of dollars to water their lawns by irrigation.

"I much prefer this system over the hose method," Smith says. "It's more efficient, and I believe I'm conserving more water with the system."

Cary suffers major water shortages every year due to new construction, droughts and the demand both create on the water system.

At a public meeting Thursday, town officials proposed a ban on future irrigation systems using the town's water supply.

"I think they may be making a presumption that I find offensive. That if you have an irrigation system, you're going to abuse the use of that irrigation system," Smith says.

Businesses that install the systems told town officials at the meeting they would virtually be put out of business by the proposed ordinance.

David Williams, an irrigation contractor, installed Joleen Smith's system. He plans to fight for his livelihood.

"We know you have a serious problem with water, but for a period of 18 months, you're basically going to put the irrigation industry out of business," Williams told town officials at the meeting.

Irrigation representatives say there are several other conservation measures that can work.

One option may be a water sensor. A cable would trail down the side of the house and into the lawn. It would alert the irrigation system whether the ground needs watering, unlike sprinkler systems which overwater the ground. "Dragging a hose around you're not putting it out in an even manner." -->

Thursday's meeting was just a public hearing. This issue will see several more meetings before a decision is made.

If the proposal passes, it will last the next two summers and will expire when Cary's new water treatment plant is built in September 2001.