10/04/05 — City to residents: Conserve water

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City to residents: Conserve water

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on October 4, 2005 1:53 PM

Mayor Al King announced Monday that Goldsboro and Wayne County are dealing with a serious water shortage and called on the public to conserve water whenever possible.

King made a Declaration of Voluntary Conservation of water after receiving information from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that water levels at the Neuse River intake were low. He said the news did not come as a surprise to town officials.

"I have been expecting this for some time now," King said. "That's why we have a schedule to follow when our water levels drop to a certain point."

This schedule King referred to is the City of Goldsboro Water Shortage Response Ordinance, approved in 2002, which outlines detailed procedures for officials and city residents to follow in the event of a drought.

Under these guidelines, when the water level at the Neuse River intake structure reaches a Mean Sea Level (MSL) of 52 feet, voluntary conservation measures go into effect. They include taking showers instead of baths, reducing the watering of lawns and checking water lines for possible leaks.

"Even if you just turn off the sink while you're brushing your teeth," King said. "Those little things can help a lot."

Wayne County received slightly more than 3 inches of rain in September, according to statistics kept by officials at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. The average rainfall for the county in September is about 5 inches.

Other cities around the state are also considering water conservation measures.

The Raleigh City Council was scheduled to consider preliminary conservation rules today, which would mean restrictions such as watering lawns only three times a week and only at night until the city's water supply increases. Residents who break the rules would face fines ranging from $50 for a first offense to $500 for a second.

The changes also would affect eight towns that depend on Raleigh for water: Garner, Wake Forest, Rolesville, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.

The Raleigh area, which normally gets 4 inches of rain in September, has gotten just .82 inches. Monthly rainfall this year, except for April and July, has been well below normal.

Greensboro officials also are pondering conservation measures. High Point already has invoked voluntary conservation measures, including a limiting lawn watering.

According to the Goldsboro water shortage ordinance, should the water level drop another foot, mandatory conservation measures would be enforced.

King and other council members say they hope to avoid that scenario.

"If we are successful in our goal of voluntary conservation, we should have no need for mandatory conservation," said the mayor.

Councilman Jimmy Bryan used his closing remarks at City Council meeting to urge city residents to be responsible with the use of water.

"Please conserve as much water as you possibly can," he said.

Should conditions warrant mandatory conservation, much tighter guidelines will take effect.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report