Local News

Holly Springs Stops Buying Raleigh Water

Posted February 20, 2008 3:15 p.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2008 7:08 p.m. EST

— Holly Springs has stopped buying water from Raleigh and will start buying all of its water from Harnett County, officials said Wednesday. 

The move means all of the town's drinking water will come from the Cape Fear River, which isn't as severely affected by the ongoing drought as Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's primary reservoir.

If the need arises, Holly Springs still could get water from Raleigh, Town Manager Carl Dean said.

"We're one of the few places that have a dual source of water," Dean said in a statement.

To resume buying from Raleigh, Holly Springs would have to adopt the same water restrictions as Raleigh and the other area towns on the municipal water system. Raleigh implemented its toughest water-use rules last Friday, but city officials are discussing even stricter limits that could take effect in the coming months, if the drought persists.

Holly Springs has been cutting back on its water purchases from Raleigh since last fall. The town's average daily purchase last month was a little more than 500,000 gallons.

To meet long-term water needs, Holly Springs officials are considering whether to purchase capacity for up to 8 million more gallons a day from Harnett County, which will begin expanding its water treatment plant this spring.

Falls Lake is about 8 feet below normal and has enough drinking water to last at least through June 17. The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, agreed Tuesday to reduce flows into the Neuse River by about 9 percent to help conserve the available drinking water.

Also Wednesday, Raleigh's new Water Conservation Council met for the first time to discuss how to change city's approach to water use. The council is made up of business leaders, civil servants and educators.

The group adopted the acronym RACE – Raleigh Area Conservation Effort – as its slogan to reflect the race to save the city's dwindling water supply. They said they plan to use public service announcements, school educational programs and best practices for businesses to cut water consumption by 20 percent.

Members also discussed a so-called "doomsday scenario" in case conservation isn't enough and Falls Lake runs dry.

"What happens if 20 percent reduction is really not enough? That's a very difficult topic to get people to discuss," said David Moreau, director of the Water Resources Research Institute in the University of North Carolina system.