Local News

Water Rates To Go Up, Use Down in Chapel Hill, Carrboro District

Posted October 18, 2007 8:57 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2007 9:29 p.m. EDT

— Tighter restrictions approved Thursday night mean residents in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and nearby areas will have to cut back more on water use or face higher charges.

The Orange Water and Sewer Authority board voted 9-0 to move to Stage 2 restrictions. They take effect Nov. 1.

Officials said residents have not met the goal of reducing water use by 10 percent since Stage 1 mandatory restrictions went into effect Sept. 27. Stage 2 restrictions call for a 15 percent reduction.

Individually metered residential customers may not use more than 800 gallons a day under the new regulations. Charges go up for every 3,000 gallons a residential customer uses in a month.

Rate increases for businesses and other non-residential customers would not go into effect unless OWASA moves to Stage 3 restrictions. Officials said they do not expect to have enact Stage 3 before the end of the year.

OWASA's University Lake-Cane Creek reservoir system was at 51.7 percent capacity, with 1.7 billion gallons available as of mid-October. That equates to a seven-month supply of water, officials said.

Under OWASA's Stage 2 restrictions:

  • Spray irrigation is banned, except for plant nurseries.
  • All other types of lawn watering are allowed at any time, but must be limited to 0.5 inches of water a week.
  • Washing vehicles is banned, except at commercial washes that recycle at least 50 percent of their water.
  • Restaurants can serve water only at a customer's request.
  • Hotels are restricted in how often they can change bed linens.
  • Re-filling ornamental fountains, ponds and such devices and washing paved areas are banned. Pressure-cleaning exterior building surfaces is allowed only before painting a building.
  • Government agencies, including fire departments, can only use water for public health and safety.