RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Mike Easley called on citizens across North Carolina on Monday to cut water consumption by 50 percent between now and the end of the month.
"Whenever you use water, cut the amount by half, whether it is taking a shower or washing the dishes," Easley said in a news release.
He also asked each of the state's public water systems to increase reporting to the state by recording the amount of water used daily and submitting that to his office on a weekly basis to help communities monitor the effectiveness of water-saving measures.
"We likely will spot important trends and pick up valuable conservation methods that communities can share," Easley said.
Easley said his office will collect the information and, after Halloween, release a list of those systems that have significantly reduced consumption. The governor's office will continue to do so as long as the drought, which is the worst on record, persists.
“With a full week’s report, we will be able to determine the amount of water saved by each community while our citizens give us their best effort to cut water use by one-half," Easley said. "This will be valuable information to have if we get to a situation where rationing is needed."
Last week, Easley began his call for statewide water conversation by asking residents to conserve at least one gallon of water each day and to stop watering their lawns and washing their vehicles.
"A dirty car is a sign of civic responsibility," he said, adding that brown grass is appropriate for mid-October.
Many municipalities, including Raleigh, Fayetteville, Chatham County, Johnston County and the district that serves Chapel Hill and Carrboro, have declared mandatory or voluntary water restrictions and have also tightened their restrictions since Easley's call last week.
Seventy-one of North Carolina's 100 counties were in exceptional drought, the federal government's highest classification, as of last week.