Local News

Wake County Forum on Water Woes Draws Hundreds

Posted February 23, 2008 6:52 p.m. EST
Updated October 21, 2011 2:14 p.m. EDT

— A community forum focused on Wake County's water supply and demand drew more than 200 residents Saturday.

“I'm concerned about water running out as a natural resource,” resident Karen Clark said.

To voice her water fears, Clark attended the forum at N.C. State's McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education.

“We need to do something,” resident Ray Boling said.

Boling said he thinks growth is part of the problem.

"Just the sheer growth of the number of people that come to North Carolina in general is going to overwhelm the (water) system,” he said.

The forum's main sponsor, Wake Up Wake County, favors balanced growth. The group collected data that shows as the population grows, supply can't keep up with demand unless there is a major effort to conserve.

“Our average daily water demand has gone up less than 1 percent per year, (and) some years it's dropped. It's more closely tied to temperature and rainfall than anything else," said Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist with Raleigh's Public Utilities Department.

Falls Lake, Raleigh's primary reservoir, is about 8 feet below normal levels.

“It is clear we are playing a game against nature,” said David Moreau, director of the Water Resources Research Institute in the University of North Carolina system.

Residents seemed most worried about whether water could actually run out.

“Any water system is in danger of running out of water, if it just doesn't rain,” Buchan said.

With our drought reaching historic proportions, officials said the public needs to be part of the solution by reducing its water use.

“I want to do something about it, before water runs out,” Clark said.

Falls Lake has enough drinking water to last Raleigh and six area towns on the municipal water system through at least the end of June, officials said.

Officials also said they want water conservation to become an everyday habit and urged businesses to use more reclaimed water.

Meanwhile, Wake County and Raleigh are planning future water sources. They include a water plant on Lake Benson. That would add 15 million gallons of water per day to the system, but it will not be ready for another two years.

Other water options are getting permits to tap into Kerr Lake, Jordan Lake and the Little River Reservoir.