Local News

Increased Water Use May Lead To Tougher Restrictions

Posted March 10, 2006 8:27 a.m. EST

— Falls Lake, Raleigh's main source of drinking water, has enough water to last through November, but that does not include the increased water use that comes with rising temperatures.

Falls Lake is currently 9 inches below full capacity, and there's no relief is in sight.

"We're actually more in a deficit than we were at the height of the drought when the lake was at its lowest level back on Nov. 20," said public utilities director Dale Crisp.

Crisp said in 2005, the Triangle area had 5½ inches below normal rainfall. To date in 2006, the area is running 4¾ inches below normal rainfall.

Water conservation measures are in large part why water supply levels are as high as they are. Current Stage 2 restrictions prohibit home car washing, but allow businesses to operate.

Lawn watering is restricted to two days a week. But if public utilities customers don't keep conserving water at the current level of about 20 percent, Stage 3 restrictions, which would limit lawn watering altogether, is a possibility.

"They've adhered to the restrictions well. We just need them to continue that patience and to continue to use as little water as they can if this weather pattern that's predicted comes true," Crisp said.

Stage 3 restrictions would kick in if Falls Lake "falls" below 242 feet -- the record low. Its current level is 250 feet.