Local News

Water Woes Could Restrict Cary Development

Posted May 5, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Dozens of Triangle towns have seen astronomical growth over the past decade. Now, one community may have to put a lid on it or start rationing water.

People in Cary say new developments are choking the town's water supply, but the situation might be worse than anyone thought.

Buela Tote has lived in Cary two years and already knows the drain on its water supply may prevent her from watering her yard as much as she would like.

"I think they're going to have to probably conserve water in a lot of ways," said Tote.

The plan to spend more than $70 million to expand Cary's water plant by 2004 will not help much.

A memo indicates nearly as soon as the plant gets the added capacity, the town will again have to purchase water from other towns to meet demand.

Councilman Glen Lang, a well known controlled growth advocate, says that is why the town needs to slow down development.

"When you open your water plant, a new water plant should last 15 years, that's according to theAmerican Water Works Association. Our water plant isn't going to last 24 hours and it will be at capacity," said Lang.

Lang says Cary cannot build an even bigger plant, because it would need permission to draw more water from Jordan Lake. Cary will need Raleigh water, and Lang worries Raleigh may not be willing to sell any extra.

"I'm absolutely positive that there's some competitive juices flowing in Raleigh, and if we don't have the water to support commercial development, they would hope that the commercial development would go to Raleigh," explained Lang.

Lang, Tote and others have one conclusion.

"I really think they should restrict development. At least for a while," said Tote.

The town is in the process of sending out rain gauges to residents so that they can measure the amount of rainfall on their property and possibly conserve water.

Most developers believe they have the capacity to build a little more in Cary.