Drought Forces Raleigh to Conserve More Water

While Georgia Gov. Perdue announced plans last week to ease up on some water conservation rules, such as filling up backyard pools, in Raleigh, North Carolina, the water conservation hammer is still falling hard. On Friday, Raleigh announced that there will no filling up any pools or using irrigation any time soon.

As I have written in a previously, 109 Days of Water Supply For Raleigh, Raleigh’s main water supply reservoir, Falls Lake, is down 8.5 feet. The current rainfall deficit starting in 2007 is 10.5 inches for the area. Based on a worst case scenario of continued no rain and water usage remaining at the current level (40.6 MGD), there exists now a 107-day water supply. In other words, Raleigh has water until the end of May based on this scenario.

Raleigh’s new rules which they call Stage 2 prohibit use of public water for:

  • All irrigation.
  • Filling new swimming or wading pools. Water may be added to pools to maintain sanitary conditions. Filling of pools drained for repair is prohibited.
  • Washing vehicles at any location except at car-washing facilities that have been certified by the city to be in compliance with a conservation certification program. A total of 45 car washes have been certified under the program.
  • Washing of areas such as sidewalks, patios, decks, driveways, parking lots, streets and exterior building surfaces, except for soiled areas for the maintenance of public health and sanitary conditions.
  • Serving of drinking water in restaurants except upon request.
  • All non-essential use of water for commercial or public use.

The rules also require:

  • Buildings with water-cooled air conditioners or heating equipment that does not recycle city-supplied water to adjust thermostats to the highest or lowest settings available, respectively, except when health and safety are adversely affected.
  • Innkeepers to ask guests spending more than one night to use their towels and bed linens more than once between laundering.
  • Commercial and industrial customers to review water uses and implement best management water conservation practices.