10/16/07 — Watering rules to change

View Archive

Watering rules to change

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 16, 2007 1:46 PM

Put away the hoses.

That's the message city officials could be sending residents during the next couple of weeks as they respond to an emergency call from the governor Monday to conserve water.

City Manager Joe Huffman said this morning he plans to bring an ordinance to Goldsboro City Council on Oct. 22 that sets stricter rules on city water use.

"What I'm going to do is go to council and ask them to implement some measures effective Nov. 1," Huffman said. "We aren't going to go to critical stage yet -- what we are going to do is modify the mandatory conservation section."

Those modifications include shutting down car washes that don't use recycled water as well as putting restrictions on residential water use.

Adam's Auto Wash and Rick's Car Wash & Detail Shop are among those in the area that do recycle, but there are still some that use city water sources and do not recycle.

"And those will be eliminated," Huffman said.

All outside watering will be banned, he added, which means no more watering lawns or shrubbery or cleaning sidewalks, driveways or houses.

Huffman added that the modifications are in the proposal stage and will not become official until council approves them.

But, he said, from several individual conversations has had, he said he believes this is what Mayor Al King and council members want to do.

"From talking to the mayor yesterday and this morning, I got the impression that he would support this," he said. "He felt pretty strongly about lessening the drought situation any way he could."

And as for the council, Huffman said he won't see them all until Monday night, but he hopes they will want to pitch in.

Moving conservation measures up a few steps stems from talks with Gov. Mike Easley about the seriousness of the state's drought.

"Those modifications are two of the high points," Huffman said. "The governor suggested those."

At the N.C. League of Municipalities Annual Conference in Fayetteville Monday afternoon, Easley said he wanted to let city officials from all over the state know how they could help to keep as much water in their communities for as long as they can.

"Several communities have as little as three month's water supply remaining. If we do not get significant rain, some areas face the once unthinkable possibility of water rationing and potentially running out of water entirely," he said in a press release.

King, Huffman, City Council members Jackie Warrick, Charles Williams and Chuck Allen and Assistant City Manager Tasha Logan were at the conference.

The governor continued to tell city officials that on top of the current drought conditions and no tropical storm system in sight, the forecast for this winter is drier than normal.

Huffman said he sees the governor's point of view.

"We really have a difficult situation. We are really going to have some shortfalls in rainfall. The drought will worsen, and next spring, we will be in trouble," he said. "I know enough about what the governor said to know that we need to do something."

Having a dirty car, Huffman added, or as the governor said, "patches of brown on the lawn," need to be much farther down the line of concerns than having water to drink.

And Huffman said he has many of those brown patches and has for a while now.

"I'm losing trees," he said. "I have dead trees in my back yard that I just planted two or three years ago. I haven't watered mine because I felt like, 'How could I water trees when I'm asking other people to cut back.'"

Huffman said he believes that these and other precautions are continued steps in the right direction.

"The drought is affecting all of us, and there is no end in sight," he said. "We just have to move very carefully and very responsibly."