Local News

Falls Lake Level Continues to Drop

Posted August 4, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— All the hot, dry weather is frying Falls Lake. You can see tree stumps, and even the bottom of the lake is visible. The water level is dangerously low.

Falls Lake is just one of our water supplies that is feeling the effects of the drought. It may seem like we are out of the woods since the mercury has dropped, but we need rain before some of our taps dry up.

They are not panicking yet, but officials are concerned over the Falls Lake level. Falls Lake is the water supply for the city of Raleigh.

More water is flowing out of the lake's spillway than is coming in from the streams and tributaries.

Falls Lake is down 3.4 feet. A view from above Falls lake shows how low the lake is. What was once under the water is now out of the water in many areas.

Raleigh's city manager wants your help.

"Our position at the present time is that we are asking our customers to voluntarily pursue water conservation efforts," said City Manager Dempsey Benton.

Officials are asking Raleigh residents to:

  • Only water lawns when the grass shows signs of withering.
  • Avoid watering lawns on consecutive days.
  • Apply no more than one inch of water per week, and water slowly to achieve the best results.
  • Water only between midnight and 5 am.

    The drought, combined with a 50 percent increase in water usage, is why there is so much more shoreline at Falls Lake than usual.

    Raleigh usually draws about 40 million gallons of water each day. In the last week, the draw has topped 80 million gallons a day.

    "There is some concern about the lake level, the safety of boaters and swimmers with underwater obstructions starting to show their ugly heads now. We do have some concern," said Lloyd Williamson of theArmy Corps of Engineers.

    Williamson said the Corp of Engineers' boat ran aground near Rolling View Marina. The best solution now is a long, soaking rain.

    "Until that happens, everyone should be aware that there are still critical shortages of water coming into Falls Lake. Everyone should be mindful of that when they are watering their lawn or washing their car," said Williams.

    The land is so dry in the western part of the state that forestry officials are concerned about the danger of possible wildfires.

    Conditions are dry even in the shaded areas of many forests. Fields that are open, especially logged areas, could be real danger spots. Forestry officials say conditions will only get worse until there is substantial widespread rain.