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Persistent dry conditions have left a water supply of approximately 95 days for Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. Falls Lake, the city’s water source, recently hit a record low level of 241.6 feet, which is 9.77 feet below full. Upon falling below a 90-day supply, the city will likely implement Stage 2 water conservation measures, violation of which will incur a $1,000 fine for the first offense.
Raleigh city officials reported that the Stage 1 mandatory restrictions, enacted on Oct. 23, have resulted in a 23% reduction in water usage. These include limiting household sprinkler and hose use, car washing, etc.
However, due to the lack of any substantial precipitation, water supplies continue to drop. Stage 2 restrictions are expected to be in effect very soon. Repeated violations of these stiffer measures will result in a person’s water service being discontinued.
Stage 2 restrictions include:
No public water for irrigation
No filling new swimming or wading pools
No car washing except at city approved car wash facilities
No washing sidewalks, patios, decks, driveways, parking lots, streets
Water leaks must be repaired within 24 hours
Restaurants are not to serve complimentary water unless asked
Hotels are to request that customers use towels more than once before laundering
The drought, which is the worst in North Carolina’s recorded history, has warranted that 78 counties be declared areas of exceptional drought—meaning two-thirds of North Carolina is in the most severe drought category.
Governor Mike Easley has repeatedly appealed to state residents to voluntarily cut back on water consumption. Recently he again asked citizens to achieve at least 30% reduction and 40% in the most hard-hit areas. Mr. Easley has said the citizens have a “patriotic duty” to ensure the state is “healthy and safe.”
Due to lack of response, Governor Easley has proposed a new program that will enforce stiffer penalties for those who use excessive amounts of water.