10/22/07 — Water will take center stage tonight

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Water will take center stage tonight

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 22, 2007 1:46 PM

Goldsboro residents are conserving water -- but city officials say they need to continue to conserve more and could take action tonight to further restrict water usage.

Officials say with each day, the city water level decreases, and in turn, the water available for showers, cooking and brushing teeth becomes limited.

Water consumption is down 13 percent from when the city declared mandatory conservation on Sept. 17 -- which is a 2 percent decrease in consumption from the beginning of October.

But, the city is hoping to drive consumption down even more.

Warnings for water abuse continue to be handed out, with about eight more warnings given out in the past two weeks, but no one has been fined yet.

Code Enforcement Officer George Wohlgemuth said that his department has been very close to giving out fines, but officers are "trying to be Mr. Nice Guy."

"Everybody is being very cooperative," he added of city water users. "Seriously, they are."

Wohglemuth did say that some people with wells and well signs are abusing their water power, though.

"Some people are using their wells more than they were before," he said. "Now, we have no control over that, but they will hurt themselves and all of us in the end."

Without a significant amount of rainfall, City Council will discuss placing more restrictive language on conservation ordinances at its meeting tonight.

Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said the central part of the state is about 10 inches behind on rainfall for this time of year.

She added that rain is particularly needed upstream over the Falls Lake area since that is the main source for the city's water source -- the Neuse River.

Although residents are conserving now, she warns that they may need to cut back more in days to come.

"More water conservation will be needed if the drought continues," she said. "There are still a lot of citizens heavily using their irrigation systems in the city. All efforts need to be made to use water sparingly."

City officials are not the only ones urging continued and even increased water conservation.

Gov. Mike Easley has been encouraging the decrease for weeks now, addressing the issue further at the League of Municipalities meeting in Fayetteville earlier in the week.

There, he said that he expects this winter to be a dry one, so the drought will only continue to get worse.