WRAL Investigates

Raleigh breaks own watering rules at amphitheater

Posted October 13, 2010 6:16 p.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2010 7:00 p.m. EDT

— The city's year-round water restrictions prohibit residents and businesses from using sprinklers on Mondays, and crews at Raleigh's new downtown amphitheater now know that rule by heart.

After a WRAL News employee spotted sprinklers soaking the lawn at the venue on Monday, a city spokeswoman initially defended the watering.

Jayne Kirkpatrick told WRAL that the amphitheater had a permit that allowed it to use sprinklers on Mondays, but Ed Buchan, environmental coordinator at the Raleigh Public Utilities Department, said the permit expired a while ago.

Kirkpatrick later said amphitheater workers were using hoses to do the watering – watering with hand-held hoses is allowed any day under the city's regulations – before acknowledging that the city made a mistake.

Mayor Charles Meeker said the city needs to set a better example.

"There needs to be some personal responsibility. Whoever is in charge needs to correct this so it doesn't reoccur," Meeker said.

Buchan said the amphitheater operators will get a warning letter for violating the water rules. If it happens again, they will be fined, he said.

"They do understand now that they have to comply with the alternate-day irrigation rules," he said. "It's always frustrating when people don't follow the rules."

The city has issued 19 warning letters so far this year for water restrictions violations, but no fines have been imposed yet for any second offense.

Some Raleigh residents said city workers should have known the rules.

"The same rules should apply to them that apply to residents of Raleigh," Lamont Campbell said.

Other residents they could understand if the incident was an innocent mistake.

"I watered my lawn on Monday, and I didn't know. Unfortunately, these things happen," Dan Warren said.