In WRAL's viewing area, the Walnut Creek community in Wayne County has cut its water use the most compared with the August average – down 55 percent. Seven Lakes and Pinehurst in Moore County and Smithfield are also hitting the 50 percent mark. In the Triangle, Apex is the closest at 44 percent.
“We're trying to conserve because we know when we're out of water, well, we gotta do something,” Apex resident Roland Boyd said.
The town has managed to cut daily water usage from 4 million gallons a day to nearly 2 million.
Mayor Keith Weatherly credits the town's 26,000 residents.
“We have had to fine no one. The compliance rate is through the roof,” Weatherly said.
“The only way we're gonna conserve water in the Triangle area is to make irrigation expensive,” Tim Donnelly, Apex public works director, said.
During the 2002 drought, Apex started charging residents $1,750 to install irrigation meters. Donnelly said it has discouraged homeowners from buying irrigation systems, and that has saved the town water.
Folks like Roland Boyd have taken things a step further, such as doing laundry only when necessary.
“We might wash three times a week, whereas we used to wash two times a day,” Roland Boyd.
“I can't explain the difference, but I do know where our citizens stand,” Weatherly said.
Apex draws its water from Jordan Lake, along with Cary. They have six to eight months worth of drinking water left.
The town stopped issuing landscape permits then, too. Residents who had permits at the time got 30 days to get lawns or landscaping established, then had to quit watering.
First violations in Apex get written notices. Second ones bring $1,000 fines.
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