Local News

Chatham County Announces Stage 3 Water Restrictions

Posted September 18, 2007 8:23 p.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2007 3:27 p.m. EDT

— Due to extreme drought conditions and its serious impact on water supplies, the Chatham County Utilities Department announced that Stage 3 mandatory water restrictions will take effect on Monday.

These “danger level” restrictions mean that nearly all uses of county water for lawns, grasses, groundcovers, landscaping, pools and car washes are banned until further notice.

While the Stage 3 restrictions apply primarily to northeastern county customers, who are served by Jordan Lake, Siler City also has enacted similar restrictions.

“This means that our southwestern water customers also are under major restrictions,” said Roy Lowder, director of the county’s Utility Department.

“Jordan Lake is 4 feet below its normal level of 216 feet, even after a much-needed rain last Friday,” Lowder said. “Because the drought situation affects nearly all 100 counties, major water supplies are affected, and the governor has urged everyone to reduce water consumption by at least 20 percent.”

As of Sept. 11, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified Chatham County as having extreme drought conditions, according to officials.

Unless we consistently get more rain like we got last Friday, we will most likely be bumped up to exceptional drought conditions, the highest level possible,” Lowder said. “I cannot stress enough how important it is for our customers to conserve as much water as possible.”

Lowder cautioned that water customers violating Stage 3 restrictions will not receive a warning before penalties are issued.

“A first offense is a $250 fine per occurrence, with the second offense set at $500 per occurrence. A third violation means that we shut off your water service,” he said.

Penalties will be added to the customer’s utility bill and paid through the monthly billing process.

Stage 3 restrictions are mandatory and include the following:

Watering & Irrigation of Outdoor Plants, Lawns & Landscaping

  • Using county supplies to water for lawns, grass or groundcover is banned at all times and by all methods. County customers can use only hand-held containers to water trees, shrubs and garden plants, such as flowers and vegetables. This means they can use watering cans, but not hoses.

Those using 100 percent reclaimed or reused water, pond water, rain water and well water or other non-county water are exempt from these restrictions.

Swimming Pools & Fountains:

  • Filling or refilling any swimming or wading pools is banned, including adding small amounts of water.

Vehicle Washing:

  • Commercial car washes using any county water must cease operation until further notice. As had been the case with Stage 2, other customers cannot wash any vehicles, including boats, automobiles and airplanes at any time.

Other Restrictions (continued from Stage 2):

  • Customers are not allowed to wash outside areas, such as building exteriors, streets, driveways, decks, parking lots, service station aprons, patios or other types of impervious surfaces, such as paved areas.
  • Customers should not operate or add water to ornamental fountains, pools, ponds or similar items.
  • Customers should not operate water-cooled or other equipment that does not recycle cooling water, except when health and safety are impacted.
  • Customers should not use water from fire hydrants for purposes other than putting out fires or other public emergencies. If possible, fire departments should use raw water for fires instead of county water.
  • Customers should not use water for dust control or to compact soil.
  • Finally, customers should avoid any other activities that waste county water supplies.