Raleigh Residents Fined for Water Misuse
Posted September 5, 2007 12:39 a.m. EDT
Updated September 5, 2007 5:16 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — In just one week, the city of Raleigh has issued 100 notices letting people know they violated water restriction rules and will be fined.
"I made her aware of the new guidelines, which she says she wasn't aware of, so she turned it (her water) off," said code enforcement officer Brian Casey. Casey had just finished talking with a woman who was watering her yard Tuesday in the Brier Creek community.
A first violation of the water restriction rules results in a $200 fine and a second in $1,000. A third will result in water service being shut off.
Some customers have special permission to water everyday. The city is issuing such permits to customers trying to start new lawns. They have been flooded with requests, issuing nearly 800 so far. The permits were initially free, but the city has started charging $50.
"(It's) one of those things that you feel like someone should have to pay to have that privilege," said Ed Buchan, a water conservation specialist with the Public Utilities Department.
Raleigh's water supply has dropped nearly 50 percent. If it gets much worse, city leaders said they will consider tighter restrictions, such banning irrigation all together.
"The last thing we would want to see is someone spend a lot of money on a lawn and not be able to irrigate it," said Buchan.
A complete ban on irrigation could happen, if drought conditions don't improve and customers break water conservation rules.
"I think there has been enough publicity that they ought to know by now," said Casey.
Water consumption was down over the weekend, but city officials suspect it had to do with people being away for the holiday weekend.
Holly Springs also decided to tighten water use. Town council members approved these water restrictions Tuesday night:
- Washing of vehicles should be done on Saturday and Sunday.
- Washing down of outside areas should be done on Saturday and Sunday.
- Pools, ponds and fountains can only be filled to remain operational.
- Drinking water shall not be served in a public restaurant, except upon request.
- People with odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesday.
- People with even-number addresses can water on Wednesday.
- A 30-day exceptions is available for new lawns and sod.
- Car and boat washing at home is limited to the weekend.