Local News

Raleigh mayor: Stage 1 water restrictions to stay for now

Posted April 28, 2008 10:03 p.m. EDT
Updated April 29, 2008 10:55 a.m. EDT

— Recent rain continues to ease drought conditions. With Falls Lake, the city's primary reservoir, now full, many people are asking if city officials should scale back water restrictions even more.

Stage 2 rules ended on April 7. Despite a lot of rain in recent days, however, Raleigh's mayor said Monday there are no plans to let up on water restrictions altogether.

“We don't know when the next drought is going to be. We've had three in six years. This could be a wet summer, this could be a dry summer. We don't know, and conservation is not something you can turn on and off overnight,” Mayor Charles Meeker said.

The prolonged drought and the dried-up lake prompted city officials to enact Stage 2 restrictions on Feb. 15, prohibiting the use of city water for outdoor irrigation and pressure washing. Car washes that weren't certified by the city also were forced to shut down.

Returning to Stage 1 rules allowed residents with odd-number addresses to water their lawns on Tuesdays, while those with even-number addresses can use their sprinklers on Wednesdays. People can use a hand-held hose for watering on those days, as well as on Saturdays for odd-number addresses and Sundays for even-number addresses.

"One day a week is just the bare minimum for this time of the year, as we move to the hotter months. It just does not provide enough water," said Daniel Currin, a vice president with the N.C. Green Industry Council.

Curran said Raleigh has some of the toughest watering rules in the state. He would like to see city leaders ease restrictions further now that Falls Lake is full and water usage is down.

Customers are using 15 to 20 percent less water in Raleigh than they were a year ago.

"What we would like to see is more like two to three days a week, just restrict the hours so home owners are encouraged not to over-water their yards," he added.

A citizens committee will meet once a week to discuss water restrictions. They are expected to make recommendations in early July.

"I'm not sure the one day a week really is going to change for irrigation. That may be the rule going forward," Meeker said.

Raleigh water customers face the toughest restrictions in Wake County. Residents in Cary, Apex, Fuquay and Holly Springs are allowed to water three days a week on an alternating schedule.

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