Local News

Raleigh Water Demand, Supply Dropping

Posted October 2, 2007 2:48 p.m. EDT

— Demand for water in Raleigh continues to drop under Stage 1 water restrictions, officials said Tuesday, adding that there is no need for tougher rules to offset the effects of the continuing drought.

Local water customers use about 54.4 million gallons of water on an average day, down about 1 million gallons from the 30-day average, officials said. Since the Stage 1 restrictions went into effect Aug. 28, consumption has dropped 18 percent.

But despite the lower demand, Raleigh's water supply continues to dry up. The level of Falls Lake, the city's primary reservoir, fell by more than 6 inches last week, and is now more than 7 feet below normal, officials said.

Falls Lake has enough water to last until Jan. 23 under a worst-case scenario of no rain and current demand levels, officials said.

But Dale Crisp, director of Raleigh's Public Utilities Department, said Stage 2 restrictions that would ban all outdoor watering aren't needed yet because forecasts call for some rain in the coming weeks.

The National Weather Service expects normal rainfall for the region this fall, but below-normal precipitation this winter, officials said. The Triangle's year-to-date rainfall is almost 8 inches below normal.

Almost 270 $200 citations have been handed out for violating the Stage 1 restrictions, and six $1,000 fines have been issued for repeat offenders, officials said.