Local News

Indoor Water Cutbacks Urged in Raleigh

Posted January 23, 2008 4:28 p.m. EST
Updated January 23, 2008 8:38 p.m. EST

— Some area residents have slashed their water use through practical means like using paper plates or using a bucket to collect water as the shower warms up. Others have resorted to more extreme measures like placing a rain barrel on a backyard chicken coop.

But Raleigh officials say not enough people are cutting back their water consumption, especially when it comes to indoor use.

The average daily demand over the past month has been 39.6 million gallons, which is about 400,000 gallons a day higher than the average two weeks ago, officials said. Although Raleigh is pumping 39 percent less water per day than last summer, they said most of that decrease occurred last fall as outdoor water restrictions took effect.

"We really haven't seen a dramatic drop-off in just your average usage," said Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist with Raleigh's Department of Public Utilities.

Gov. Mike Easley has implored people in recent months to cut back as much as possible. On Tuesday, the Raleigh City Council voted to recommend local residents use no more than 35 gallons a day each, and the council and Mayor Charles Meeker have asked people to install low-flow devices on faucets and showers.

"It wouldn't be completely impossible," Buchan said, noting a study he conducted show toilets, showers and washing machines are the biggest water-guzzlers in the average home.

"The easiest thing to do is take a shorter shower. The toilets, as unpleasant as it may be, just don't flush (them) as often," he said.

Raleigh officials plan to place a water calculator on the city's Web site in the next week or so to help residents gauge their use.

"We'll show you how much, on average, water you use and how you can reduce that down to 35 gallons," Buchan said.