Possible stage two water restrictions hit new home construction

January 28, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Home building added $4 billion to the Wake County economy in 2007.

However, as Falls Lake dries up, Raleigh's City Council inches closer to more water rules, including one which would effectively stop new home construction.

"Can you imagine taking $4 billion out of Wake County, what impact that would have; it would be devastating," Tim Minton with the Wake Homebuilders Association said.

Raleigh's city council is scheduled to consider stage two water restrictions next week. One provision is a ban on flush tests of new water lines.

"If we can't flush the lines, there will be no new houses built," Minton said.

Home builders have presented a pre-emptive compromise, capturing flush test water and trucking it back to Falls Lake, using reclaimed water whenever possible. And also not installing irrigation meters until the drought is over.

"I think it makes sense if the water used to clear out pipes can be recaptured and taken back to the water treatment plant for re-treatment," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

New home construction is only about 2 percent of Raleigh's total water use. But once occupied, the new homes add to Raleigh's residential thirst, between 60 to 70 percent of total water usage.

Last year, Raleigh issued over 3,000 permits over new homes.

"We want to make sure we can build houses," Minton said. "But we also recognize that we are in a drought, so we will continue to come up with solutions which we think will help."


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