Local News

Raleigh's Water Supply Stretches to 2009

Posted March 26, 2008 11:23 a.m. EDT
Updated March 26, 2008 4:36 p.m. EDT

— Thanks to recent rains and strict water-conservation measures, Falls Lake has enough drinking water to last into next year, officials said Wednesday.

The available drinking water in Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's primary reservoir, should last through Jan. 12, 2009, based on current consumption levels, officials said.

Since Raleigh imposed Stage 2 restrictions on municipal water system customers on Feb. 15, daily water use has fallen about 5 percent, to 38.2 million gallons. Usage over the most recent 30 days is even lower, officials said, averaging 38 million gallons.

Stage 2 restrictions outlawed the use of city water for outdoor irrigation or pressure washing, closed car washes that hadn't been certified by the city and required hotels and restaurants to urge water conservation among customers. The city has cited 26 individuals and businesses for violating the restrictions, an offense that carries a $1,000 fine.

Heavy rains a few weeks ago added more than 5 feet to Falls Lake, which remains about 2 feet below normal levels. The lake is about 76 percent of capacity, and the City Council has given City Manager Russell Allen permission to ease some water restrictions once the lake recovers to 90 percent of capacity.

The Triangle region remains under extreme drought conditions, and rainfall recorded at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since the beginning of 2007 is 9.4 inches below normal.

Meanwhile, Harnett County plans to ease its water restrictions on Friday, moving to alternate-day watering outdoors and allowing people to wash cars and pressure wash their homes.

Moore County is heading the opposite direction, banning car washing for customers in Pinehurst and Seven Lakes and limiting outdoor watering to between 5 p.m. and midnight, beginning April 1.