Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker announced Monday that he will ask the Raleigh City Council Tuesday to increase water and sewer rates by 50% in order to guarantee viable drinking water supply throughout the drought. If approved, the new rate will take effect on March 1st.
As part of the overall plan, Meeker continues to encourage water users to conserve. To that end, he brought props to Monday's conference to prove his point.
Meeker showed low-flow shower heads and a rain barrel to emphasize his point about conservation efforts - but he knows it's hitting water users in the pocketbook that will likely force the issue. "Money is sometimes a factor and this is part of the program and that's the reason I put it there," Meeker said.
In October 2007, the Raleigh City Council approved to amended Stage I mandatory water conservation restrictions and rules that:
- Prohibit watering by automatic or non-automatic spray irrigation systems:
- Prohibit washing vehicles at home;
- Prohibit watering by hose-end sprinklers and soaker hoses; and,
- Cease the issuance of lawn and landscape irrigation establishment permits.
- This amended water conservation ordinance goes into effect Oct. 23. No lawn and landscape irrigation permits will be issued after October 17.
A first-time citation carries a $200 penalty. A second offense comes with at $1,000 penalty. A third citation would result in interruption of the customer's water service.
The mayor pointed out that Raleigh's water rate will still be lower than other municipalities. If approved, the surcharge will go into effect for water used after March 1st. The additional charges would show up on the May billing cycle.
Mayor Meeker is also requesting that residents reduce their water consumption by 25-gallons per person, per household. "If you're a homeowner that's been using three thousand gallons a month and you reduce your usage down to two thousand gallons a month or less, your bill will be the same or less than it was a year ago. However, if you don't conserve your bill will be more," he said.
According to the state website www.h2o4u.org:
- The average toilet uses 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush.
- A shower can use 25 to 50 gallons (5 gallons per minute)
- Just washing your hands can use up to 3 gallons of water (with tap running at 3 gallons per minute)
- Leaving the water running while you brush your teeth can waste 3 gallons of water (at 3 gallons per minute).
- Automatic dishwashers use about 15 gallons per load.
- Washing one load of clothes in an automatic washer uses about 45 gallons.
- The average bath takes about 36 gallons of water.
- The average individual uses about 125 gallons of water per day.
- An average residence uses 107,000 gallons of water per year.
- About 340 billion gallons of water are used every day in the United States. This total includes water used in irrigation, in industry, and in fire fighting and street cleaning.
- Cutting one minute off your shower time can save about 700 gallons of water per month.
- A faucet that drips 60 times in one minute would waste over 3 gallons a day, 1,225 gallons per year.
Mayor Meeker's proposed rate increase would be temporary. He says the surcharged can be lifted if the drought ends.