RALEIGH, N.C. — Raleigh's water police are looking for rule breakers. Since Stage I restrictions took effect last August, utility crews have handed out more than 400 fines.
A first offense is $200, and a second offense is $1,000. As of Friday, Raleigh water users were averaging about 39 million gallons of water a day. That's down more than 20 percent since last August.
While some people have gotten the message to conserve, not everyone has obeyed the rules, and that doesn't sit well with some homeowners.
The Tucker family has changed the way it operates due to the drought, but some of its neighbors in the north Raleigh neighborhood have been slapped with fines – in some cases for a second time.
Since August, 13 homeowners have been hit with a second violation for breaking the city's water conservation rules. At least four homeowners targeted by the Water Police live near the Tucker's in the Bedford Falls Subdivision.
“Some people say they know they can afford it, but it’s everyone’s responsibility,” said Denise Tucker.
Ed Buchan, with the City of Raleigh, said recent rainfall bumped the city's main water source at Falls Lake from about 91 days in reserve to around 120 days. That helps, but the Triangle's long term water supply remains in dire straits.
“A $1,000 fine should be a pretty good deterrent. And, of course, the next step is interruption of service,” Buchan said. “Whether you live in a $1 million home or a $100,000 house, we’re all in this together. We get our water from Falls Lake.”
The mayor is planning a major water conservation announcement Monday. It could include recommendations for longer water conservation measures.