Local News

Pumping Quarry Water Delayed Until January

Posted December 27, 2007 7:38 p.m. EST

— The holiday schedule has delayed bringing water from an abandoned quarry into Durham's system until after New Year's Day, officials said Thursday.

City crews began installing a tap at Teer Quarry last week and expected water to begin flowing into the city system this week. But Vicki Westbrook, deputy director of the city's water management department, said crews still need to install about 1,100 feet of pipe to connect to existing water mains before the tap can be turned on.

Durham's two primary reservoirs, Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir, have about 36 days of quality drinking water left between them. Officials hope the 600 million gallons of water in the quarry will extend the available drinking water supply by about a month.

Raleigh has about 95 days of drinking water left in Falls Lake, although Wednesday's rain helped raise the lake level by 3 inches and add four days to the water supply. City officials plan to implement tougher water restrictions once the supply drops to 90 days.

WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said more rains this weekend could boost area reservoirs even more.

A system dumping snow in the Rocky Mountains was moving east Thursday and was expected to bring rain across the Gulf Coast and Southeast. But the system should fall apart by the time it reaches North Carolina, Maze said, resulting in less than a quarter-inch of precipitation in the Triangle.

A second front moving up from the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend could bring a half-inch to an inch of rain to the region, he said.

"Both systems combined really won't do much to bring us much relief, but we'll take any rain at this point we can get," he said.

Seventy-eight of North Carolina's 100 counties, including all of the Triangle, are experiencing exceptional drought conditions, the worst of five categories monitored by the state Drought Management Advisory Council. Nine counties are experiencing extreme drought, while 13 counties in the eastern end of the state are experiencing severe drought, according to the council's latest report.

The data in the report, which was released Thursday, was gathered Tuesday and doesn't reflect the recent rain.