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Raleigh Leaders Investigate Long-Term Plans For Preventing Water Shortages

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Tyrone Evans would rather soap up his car at home, but he has to keep going to the car wash.

"(It's) Valentine's Day, everybody has got to keep their ride clean today," laughs 34-year-old Evans.

Evans is at the car wash because he's abiding by Raleigh's Stage 2 mandatory water restrictions, enacted in November to help conserve water from Falls Lake, which at the time was nearly 9 feet below normal.

As the water level rises -- now, only a foot below normal levels -- city leaders are continuing to look for ways to expand the city's water supply.

One way is an engineering study on the Little River in Eastern Wake County to see if it can become a new water supply reservoir. City leaders are asking for federal money to fund the study and have already started to acquire the necessary land needed for it.

"It gives us more options available in case you have to implement water conservation," said Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen.

The city is also working to pursue a water plant at Lake Benson. If both of these projects were a success, Raleigh's water capacity would increase by 50 percent.

The city needs the increase to keep up with population growth. Leaders say diversifying watersheds is an important step.

"Even though they are all in Wake County, it could give us some diversity," Allen said. "But a severe drought like the one we've experienced could present a challenge to any of those."

A water conservation task force is unlikely in its formal proposal to the City Council in April to recommend year-round water restrictions, which at one point were being considered as a possible solution to water conversation.

Many Council members think public education could have the same effect as more restrictions.


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