Local News

Lawn Watering in Durham Cut to One Day

Posted October 5, 2007 4:06 p.m. EDT

— With most of the Piedmont experiencing exceptional drought, Durham announced it will limit lawn watering to one day a week and warned that Stage 4 restrictions could be around the corner.

The tightened Stage 3 Moderate Mandatory Conservation will go into effect Monday, Oct. 15. From then, customers will only be able to water only once on Saturdays.

Lawn watering will be permitted either between 5 and 8 a.m. or 5 and 8 p.m., but city officials stressed that customers can not water during both time periods. Watering is additionally limited to 0.5 inches.

“By reducing the lawn watering schedule down to just one day a week, we’re hoping we see a significant decrease in water usage,” City Manager Patrick Baker said.

“Ideally, we’d like customers to water for no more than 30 minutes, because even with mandatory restrictions, we have not seen the reduced usage we need to ensure our water supply is adequate."

On Sept. 21, Durham ordered both businesses and residents to reduce daily use by 30 percent. Since then, consumption has dropped by only 12 percent, and levels in Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir, Durham's primary water sources, have fallen another 1.3 feet to 14 feet below normal.

Baker warned that if customers do not reduce water usage by 30 percent, Durham could enforce Stage 4 Severe Mandatory Conservation restrictions from Monday, Oct. 29.

“Obviously, Stage IV restrictions are even more significant. But, if we can get compliance by our citizens, then we can hold off on moving to this stage,” Baker said. “Now, it’s up to our customers to help us ensure we have an adequate water supply to get our community through this drought.”

Customers are encouraged to report water waste to Durham One Call at 919-560-1200 or online.

First-time violators are given a written warning. Notice is given for a second violation, and water service will be terminated for a third violation.

Stage 3 restrictions also require that customers:

  • Do not add water to wading pools or swimming pools, except to replenish losses due to evaporation or spillage and to maintain equipment. Washing outside areas, such as sidewalks or patios, is banned.
  • Do not add water to any decorative fountain, pool or pond, except when the water is recycled.
  • Do not serve water in a restaurant, except upon request.
  • Do not wash the exterior of a motor vehicle, unless a private well water system is used, or at least 50 percent of the water is recycled, or it can be demonstrated that 30 gallons of water or less are used to wash the vehicle.