Trick or Treat : Can North Carolina Cut Water Consumption by 50 percent?

The Governor of North Carolina, Mike Easley, announced on Tuesday he is calling on citizens across North Carolina to cut water consumption by 50 percent between now and Halloween. I guess you could think of this as a big science fair project, but on a state level. North Carolina is calling this project “Operation Halve-It.”

“We all need to know whether this will be extremely difficult or easily do-able, but we do need to establish a baseline of water use to determine which water conservation measures are most effective. We likely will spot important trends and pick up valuable conservation methods that communities can share.”

– Gov. Mike Easley

In addition, he has asked each of the state’s public water systems to increase reporting to the state by recording the amount of water used daily and sending that information weekly to his office. There is a business adage that says “If you can measure it, you can manage it”. I think this applies to water resources, too. North Carolina leads all the other states in the Southeast in the online transparency of this type of reporting.

So, how is North Carolina handling the drought? The status of the public water supply systems, as a result of drought related causes, is 134 (22%) have voluntary restrictions, 112 (19%) have mandatory restrictions, and 1 (0.2%) system has an emergency water conservation status, out of a total of 603 systems that are tracked. Seventeen water systems serving hundreds of thousands of residents have regular water supplies of less than 100 days given current conditions, including Raleigh, Durham and Monroe.