Stage two restrictions set to effect six counties

February 7, 2008 5:34:38 PM PST
Raleigh's stage two water restrictions take effect February 15.

Triangle residents are asked and in some cases forced to use less water during the drought.

However, even with the push to conserve, city utility experts are bracing for more water use as the weather heats up.

Some residents are asking how this could be, with restrictions of not being able to water their lawn or wash their car.

But water use is going to go up and it is going to put more pressure on lake levels. A big reason is going to be industrial air-conditioning.

"I'm fully expecting there will be more demand on the system," Raleigh Utilities Director Dale Crisp said.

Crisp says he would be very pleased if the city's average daily water use did not rise more than 25 percent this summer.

Raleigh's recent stage two rule, which bans all home outdoor watering, does also ask businesses to turn down the AC.

"Adjust their thermostats to the maximum degree that they can to lower the amount of cooling which will raise the temperature in the buildings," Crisp said.

The restrictions will also ban power-washing in Raleigh and the six Wake County towns that get their water from Raleigh.

Those rules have some homeowners and small business owners rushing to beat the clock.

Alex Curry is in the power-washing business and says he is rushing to wash as much as he can.

"Every time the phone rings, I try to schedule a job," Curry said. "You try to advertise as much as you possibly can until the 15th. And after the 15th, you can't work until further notice."

He and power-washers all over Raleigh have just one week to work before the restriction takes effect.

"First thing that came to my mind was my family," Curry said.

Curry, who has a wife and two kids, says customers are calling wanting their homes washed before the deadline.

The last minute wash might make Raleigh water officials a little nervous.

"Certainly that's not what we were intending to happen," Ed Buchan with Raleigh Public Utilities said. "We don't want demand to go up."


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