Local News

Cary, Apex Ease Restrictions on Outdoor Watering

Posted March 31, 2008 10:38 a.m. EDT
Updated March 31, 2008 10:59 a.m. EDT

— Cary and Apex town governments have voted to ease restrictions on outdoor watering from Tuesday, April 1.

Both towns will allow residents to use outdoor irrigation systems and sprinklers on alternate days year-round.

Customers with odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Even-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Watering is prohibited on Monday, but hand-watering and outdoor washing are allowed every day.

Both Cary and Apex draw their water from Jordan, which has recovered from the drought. On Sunday, Jordan Lake stood at 217.6 feet, more than a foot-and-a-half above normal.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing more water each day from the lake than during regular operations due to its higher level.

“While the region’s drought is not over, February and March rains along with our culture of conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ judicious management of the lake are allowing us to return to our regular program of water conservation,” said Steve Brown, Cary's director of public works and utilities, said. “Of course, we want everyone to continue being very responsible and water wise.”

Violators in Cary will get a warning on the first offense, a $500 fine on the second and $1,000 fine for each subsequent offense. The town will cut off water service at a customer's sixth violation.

Apex will issue a warning to violators on the first offense and a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation after that.

Cary's water rules also affect water customers in Morrisville, southern Research Triangle Park and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Cary, which has restricted outdoor watering since 2000, requires all irrigation systems to have a sensor that detects when it is raining. The town prohibits watering on hard surfaces, including driveways, sidewalks and roads.

The town implemented a tiered water rate structure to encourage conservation in 1998.

"We're pleased to be able to report that ... Cary is already doing nearly every conservation method suggested by Governor Easley," Brown said.

He cautioned, though, that more dry conditions could prompt a return to stricter regulations.

“Right now and for the foreseeable future, we’re in excellent shape and feel very comfortable allowing citizens to return to our normal level of conservation,” said Brown

“It’s important for everyone to know that we’re continuing to monitor the situation daily, and we will make prudent decisions that preserve and protect our limited resources, as well as our citizens' quality of life," he continued.

"In Cary, we believe and have demonstrated that both can be responsibly achieved.”

Apex released suggestions for voluntary water conservation:

  • Do not irrigate during the hottest time of the day, as much of the water is lost to evaporation. Early morning or late at night is best.
  • Avoid mowing during droughts as it adds stress to grass and is only relieved by more irrigation.
  • Limit vehicle washing to a minimum.
  • Refrain from washing down impervious areas such as sidewalks, driveways, and patios.
  • Do not leave faucets running while shaving, brushing teeth and rinsing dishes.
  • Only run full loads for laundry and dish washing.Check for and repair leaks.
  • Check your water meter and bill to track usage. Try to reduce usage each month.