Water conservation education campaign considered

February 19, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
With Stage Two restrictions in effect and possible Stage Three on the horizon, some of the biggest water users in Raleigh are working with city leaders on a public education campaign.

Raleigh leaders are asking all industries to help out with a conservation education campaign.

So far, those which are most interested are the ones who could face regulation or even be shut down.

The campaign is gearing up as city leaders still have to figure out who will get hit with the next round of water rules.

Raleigh water users cannot water their lawns and some city leaders say Raleigh needs not just rules, but also a plan to educate people on the water shortage.

"Primary goal is to make sure we have a public education plan that complements our water conservation efforts," Raleigh city council member, Mary-Ann Baldwin said.

The campaign might include school conservation curriculum, TV public service announcements, even conservation signs hung on Pepsi trucks.

Pepsi has taken increasing criticism for its water use to bottle beverages, most of which are sent outside Raleigh.

"We have a 100 year relationship with the city and the state. And we'd like to take any opportunity to educate our community that we work so closely with," Matthew Bucherati with Pepsi said.

Some business leaders admit there is another agenda as they sign on to a city education campaign.

Raleigh's next conservation stage could close car washes. Car wash owners hope their cooperation can keep them in business.

"We certainly hope when we meet with city officials as stage three draft is voted on, that they will take into account the water conservation measures that we are taking place," Auto Bell Car Wash owner, Caleb Leonard said.

But others fear the campaign will not be tough enough. Some think the message needs to spell out some worst case scenarios.

"Probably the most severe would be water rationing," Dr. David Moreau with UNC Water Resources said. "You drop down to 60 days of supply left; you're talking about a very, very difficult situation."


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