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Mandatory Watering Limits Come to Johnston County

The plan calls for businesses and residences to follow odd-even schedules, with no watering on Mondays.

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CLAYTON, N.C. — Johnston County took steps Tuesday to protect its water supply for the future, putting all residential and commercial water customers are under mandatory restrictions until further notice.

The county imposed the rule for its four municipal and two commercial customers as a brief shower in places served as more of a reminder of what we have not had than as a help for a rainfall deficit that is running about 2 inches for May and 4 inches for 2007 in the Triangle.

Water taps in Johnston County taps are fed by the Neuse River, and the sun is drying up the water supply day after blistering day, county officials said. So, beginning immediately, a house or business street number will determine when lawns and plants can be watered.

“My grass is probably going to look like some of my neighbors’ by the time it's all said and done,” David Eckstein said. He had watered every day.

“The Neuse River's got plenty of water in it. I don't see why now is going to affect.... It seems like we always catch up at the end of year, with rain anyway,” Eckstein said.

The plan announced Tuesday is for businesses and residences with addresses ending in odd numbers to water on odd-numbered days Tuesdays through Sundays and even-numbered properties on even days. The county says no one may water on Mondays.

There are no penalties, for now. The county is focused non cutting daily usage now so the water that flows now will continue to flow in the future.

“We average about 8.5 million gallons per day, but we're peaking a little over 10 million gallons per day. So, we're getting in a situation with those peaks. It gets difficult,” County Manager Rick Hester said.

The restrictions affect the Clayton, Kenly, Four Oaks and Princeton municipal systems that get their water from the county as well as private customers served by Aqua NC and Carolina Water Service.

Hester noted that the restrictions have nothing to do with a local fire department refilling local ponds last week with county water. The shortage, he said, had been a long time coming.

"We can say, 'Please don't water your lawns,' (but) some people are still going to do it," County Manager Rick Hester said. "So, let's come up with a method where we can feel like we're partnering with the residents and see if we can all work together through this."

Of 585 water systems in the state, 41 have restrictions. Mandatory odd-even watering in Raleigh takes effect July 2.

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Gerald Owens, Reporter
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