Local News

Taps Remain Off for People on Community Wells

Posted April 16, 2008 4:37 p.m. EDT
Updated April 16, 2008 10:21 p.m. EDT

— Thousands of water customers across North Carolina must continue curbing their water use, despite relaxed regulations in many area cities and towns.

People who draw water from community wells run by companies like Aqua North Carolina aren't covered by municipal water regulations. Rather, the state Utilities Commission oversees those systems, which serve more than 110,000 people statewide.

The commission adopted water restrictions last October that banned outdoor irrigation, pressure washing and washing cars. Officials said they plan to keep tight restrictions in place because the wells pull from groundwater, which recharges much more slowly than the surface reservoirs that spring rains have refilled in recent weeks.

"We're not allowed to ... water our grass," Wake County resident Jordan Reesman said. "No washing our vehicles, (no) sprinklers, (no) Slip 'n Slides for the children – no summer stuff."

State Climatologist Ryan Boyles said recently that the depleted groundwater is a primary reason most of North Carolina is still considered to be in a drought. Another hot, dry summer will drain Falls Lake and other reservoirs more quickly because of the low groundwater flows into them, he said.

Amy Tripp, who also is on a community well, said she is frustrated watching neighbors on Raleigh's municipal water system pull out their sprinklers while her lawn continues to dry out.

"The thing that's getting me is the pollen. I would love to wash the decks, wash the car," Tripp said.