Hundreds attend water crisis forum

February 23, 2008 1:12:17 PM PST
The issue of how to deal with the water crisis in Wake County was the topic of a public forum Saturday.Hundreds of people, including many city and county officials, were there to discuss the worst drought on record. Will the water run out in Wake County? That's the question a panel of experts tried to answer at a community forum in the NCSU McKimmon Center Raleigh. "I think two years ago you would not have had this kind of discussion about conservation and planning and really looking how our water system affects how we grow ," Raleigh Planning Director Mitchell Silver said. He was among dozens of city and county officials looking at water issues plaguing Wake County. Experts talked about where the county's water comes from, climate change, the drought, what other communities are doing to conserve and funding issues surrounding water. Some solutions discussed include year-round restrictions, tax credits for conserving, sharing water among communities and more reservoirs.. Residents hope the talks will lead to action. The public forum was the first of its kind. "A lot more needs to be done in doing the studies now that will allow for things to be put into practice maybe a decade earlier," said Marie Moylan, 35-year Raleigh resident. One of the reasons why Wake County has a water crisis is the tremendous growth and new construction. It has put a big strain on the water supply and that's why planning is such a huge topic of discussion. "Were planning a reservoir for the future but no one could ever predict a drought which we believe is an 800-year drought," Silver said. Ed Buchan, Raleigh Public Utilities, said "We are building a reservoir, we are building a water plant and it's not something we haven' been thinking about for a long time." The discussion was sponsored by the group Wake Up Wake County. It is pushing leaders for tougher water restrictions a week after Raleigh moved to Sage Two. At this stage, officials say Raleigh's usable water supply could run out by summer.

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