Local News

Poll: Most in N.C. Conserving Water

Posted March 18, 2008 11:50 a.m. EDT

— More than four-fifths of North Carolina residents have cut back on water consumption to help the state survive its worst drought in history, according to a new poll.

Elon University surveyed 473 people across the state last week and found that eliminating outdoor irrigation and car washing and taking shorter showers are among the more popular water-saving methods. Fewer are taking steps urged by the Raleigh City Council, such as installing low-flow faucets and shower heads and buying rain barrels.

The poll has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

More than half of those surveyed said they had stopped watering their lawns and washing their cars and were taking shorter showers. More than 40 percent also said they were reducing how often they used washing machines and dish washers and had turned off the water to brush their teeth.

But only 28 percent of the respondents said they had installed a low-flow shower head, and less than a quarter said they were using a more efficient toilet. A mere 7 percent of those surveyed had purchased a rain barrel.

The Raleigh City Council recommended that all local residents and businesses install such water-saving devices by March 1 to reduce the city's daily water consumption. City inspectors last week began visiting health clubs, hotels, apartment complexes and office buildings to check how well businesses were complying with the plan.

About three-fifths of those surveyed said cutting water use is a primary responsibility of state and local governments and North Carolina residents. A majority also said businesses, developers, utilities and environmental groups are very responsible for reducing water consumption in the state.