Local News

Water Usage Down, City of Raleigh Says

Posted July 24, 2007 7:40 p.m. EDT

— Nearly a month after the mandatory year-round water restrictions went into effect, fines and water usage are down, according to numbers the City of Raleigh released Monday.

During the past 10 days of conservation, usage among city water customers dropped an average of about 5 million gallons a day compared to the first 10 days of conservation.

Although there's been some improvement, city Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp said it will probably still take time for customers to get used to the restrictions.

From July 1 to July 22, the city has issued 334 citations to people violating the measures; there have been nine repeat offenders who face a $50 fine.

"In the last two weeks, compared to the first two weeks, it has slowed significantly — about a 50 percent reduction," Crisp said.

Although the area has had rain over the past month, Raleigh's main water supply, Falls Lake, is 2.4 feet below the normal of 251.5 feet but above low points reached during a 2005 drought.

Tougher restrictions are on hold but are still an option, Crisp said.

"It's all up to the weather. If we don't return to normal rainfall and the lake levels continue to drop, we may have to move to that," he said. "If the demand stays up as well — there are so many variables, it's hard to project."

The city implemented the mandatory year-round water conservation measures on July 2 to lessen the threat of a water shortage during an ongoing drought.

Residents at even-numbered addresses may water their lawns on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and those at odd-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. All watering is banned on Monday.

Violators are first given a warning, followed by fines. Repeat violators could have their water turned off.

The rules apply to all City of Raleigh water customers, including those in Garner, Knightdale, Rolesville, Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon, who use automatic or non-automatic irrigation systems or hose-attached sprinklers.

Customers who water their lawns using handheld hoses are exempt from the restrictions.