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Few Volunteers Slows Low-Flow Effort to Trickle

Raleigh officials say they need more help installing low-flow devices for low-income residents.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — After asking all residents and businesses to install water-saving devices, Raleigh officials purchased 5,000 low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to help low-income households make the switch.

But the effort has been slowed by a lack of volunteers to install the devices and delays in obtaining them.

"Quite frankly, we don't have the staff trained," said Hardy Watkins, director of the city's Community Services Department. "We're looking for organizations, non-profits, individuals, plumbers, plumbing companies and those types."

City officials said they hope to have all of the low-flow devices installed before the next prolonged dry spell to curb daily water consumption as much as possible.

A fifth of indoor water usage is linked to showers and baths, and older houses often have faucets and shower heads that pump out twice as much water as newer ones.

"This is a longer-term goal," said Ed Buchan, water conservation specialist with the city's Public Utilities Department. "You don't net lots of water reduction all of a sudden. It takes a little while for it to make a difference. This will be something we can say we did for the next drought."

Community Services has a list of residents who qualify for the city's low-flow devices, and Watkins said officials still need to notify the residents and schedule appointments with them.

"On a long-term basis, we've got to be prepared for this," he said. "As we grow more and more and we expand our water services, there's going to be a continuous need for it."

Anyone interested in volunteering should call Brent Quick at 919-831-6120 or e-mail him at brent.quick@ci.raleigh.nc.us.


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