Council does not deliver tougher water restrictions

January 22, 2008 5:24:59 PM PST
There was a lot of talk Tuesday -- a lot of emphasis on the need to push conservation and try to fill up Falls Lake by the spring.

The recent rain has helped the drought situation, but Falls Lake is still only about one-third full.

Tuesday afternoon the city council gathered to discuss several ideas that could cut demand and increase conservation, but council members left the meeting with little in terms of tougher water restrictions.

Perhaps the key that came from the meeting is a goal for all residents.

The mayor proposed that all people try to use 35 gallons per day for their personal use. Fifty to 60 gallons a day is typical.

"For a lot of people, this is a realistic goal that they can get there," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "Certainly there are some people who can't, but this would be, to let people know so they would have a goal to shoot for."

And it is a goal -- no a requirement.

The council also back away from the idea of a 50 percent surcharge being added to water bills. It's an idea that first floated by the mayor a couple of weeks ago.

"Well the idea of using price to encourage conservation has generated a lot of resistance so that's really off the table," Meeker said. "what we're going to do is try to focus on conservation through regulation."

City leaders discussed going to the next stage of restrictions -- Stage Two. It bans all power washing and outdoor watering. Also, only city certified car washes would be allowed to operate.

No vote was taken on Stage Two Tuesday. Raleigh leaders will meet with the mayors of six other towns that use city water before advancing to the next stage.

The council also discussed releasing less waster downstream into the Neuse River to help preserve the supply of Falls Lake.

They hope most residents and businesses will make the change to low flow shower heads and get aerators for their faucets by March. One councilman says the city needs to do more to be more courageous.


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