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Water Woes Flow Downstream Along Neuse River

Officials from Goldsboro, which lies along the Neuse River, are formulating back-up plans if a drought dries up Raleigh's Falls Lake.

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GOLDSBORO, N.C. — Facing a dry forecast and a water-zapping drought, Goldsboro and Raleigh officials are formulating a back-up plan if Falls Lake continues to fall.

The dropping levels in Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's main water source, are creating concern along the Neuse River, far from the capital.

Since Falls Lake feeds into the Neuse, its water level directly impacts several cities and counties downstream, including Goldsboro.

"Of course, we're watching that (the level of Falls Lake), and we are concerned," Karen Brashear, Goldsboro's public utilities director, said. "We're hoping some normal weather patterns start back, so the lake will be replenished."

Goldsboro instituted mandatory restrictions two weeks ago. Falling water levels more dramatically affect communities that rely on rivers for their water supply, than on those that use reservoirs.

"We're under mandatory conservation, and hopefully, we'll get some rain, and we don't have to go into water shortage crisis mode," Brashear said.

Goldsboro doesn't have various levels of water restrictions, so the city's next step would be to move into crisis mode. Then, water use would be limited to necessities such as drinking and firefighting.

The city is exploring other options before taking that extreme measure, Brashear said. City officials are working with those in Raleigh on plans to possibly tap into Raleigh's Lake Benson or Lake Wheeler to help fill the Neuse if Falls Lake runs too low.

Brashear attended a meeting of the Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council drought panel in Raleigh Thursday.

"We're just looking for getting some more information," Brashear said.

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Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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