Local News

Nearly 400 Warnings Issued to Water Restriction Violators

Posted August 9, 2007 11:42 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2007 10:05 a.m. EDT

— If it’s not your day to water your plants or wash your car, prepare for a warning. Public Utilities officials are out enforcing the water restrictions.

“You’re just as apt to see us out at 2 o’clock in the morning as you are at 2 o’clock in the afternoon,” said Don Casterlin, a code enforcement inspector.

You could call Casterlin the "water police." Every day, he rides up and down, in and out of neighborhoods, looking for violators. And now, with the recent triple-digit, overbearing heat driving consumption up, he's cracking down.

“People have got to understand that if we don’t do something soon, we are going to have to go to the next level of restrictions,” he said.

The Public Utilities Department already has the OK from the Raleigh City Council to go to Stage 1 restrictions if necessary. That would mean watering not three days a week, but one.

Department leaders say that is still a ways off. It all depends on the weather and if people continue to conserve.

Customers used more than 74 million gallons of water on Wednesday, up from an average of about 61 million.

“You never know what it could have been had we not had the current lawn irrigation restrictions in place. It could have been even higher,” said Dale Crisp, Raleigh utilities director.

And while officials say the record water use is because of the record heat, they'll still be watching, no matter where you live.

So far, code enforcement officers have issued 395 warning violations and 16 second-time violations that cost $50 apiece.