04/22/08 — Limits on water use voluntary, city says

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Limits on water use voluntary, city says

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 22, 2008 1:45 PM

Goldsboro Mayor Al King announced Monday night that the city is downgrading its water restrictions to voluntary conservation, effective today at noon.

The move means city residents won't have to limit their lawn watering or car washing to just Saturdays and Sundays.

The city had been under Phase I of its mandatory water conservation stages.

Falls Lake in Wake County, the main source for the Neuse River, is looking much better than it has in the past few months, Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said. Goldsboro gets its water from the river.

"Now, Falls Lake releases 700 cubic feet per second. They were releasing 27 to 29 cubic feet per second," she told council members.

The city and Wayne County also moved out of the exceptional drought category and into the moderate drought category Thursday, she added.

"We are better off than some areas in the state," she said. "We have had 16.45 inches of rain so far this year. We are over the year's average a little bit, but we are still a little below average over a year."

Water consumption has leveled off , she said, also improving the city's water situation.

"We are not seeing a lot of water usage increase," she said.

King showed his appreciation for conservation-minded residents.

"You know, our people have paid attention and stepped up and conserved," he said.

After hearing the report, King asked his fellow council members how they felt about the change. They agreed.

"OK, voluntary it is," King said. "And if we have to go back, we'll do that."

The following are other conservation measures that residents are encouraged to follow while the city remains under voluntary conservation measures:

* Take 5-minute showers instead of baths.

* Do not let water to run while shaving, brushing teeth and rinsing dishes.

* Keep a bottle of chilled water in the refrigerator for drinking, so as not to run the tap to get cold water.

* Only run dishwasher or clothes washing machine when there is a full load. Washing dishes by hand saves about 25 gallons.

* Inspect and repair leaky valves on faucets and toilets.

* Install water-saving devices on toilets and showers. (For example, place an item in the toilet tank -- do not use a brick -- to reduce the amount of water per flush, install low-flow shower heads, etc. Look for water conservation features if buying new water-consuming appliances.)

* Do not allow children to play with hose or sprinklers.

* Limit lawn and outside plant watering, then only at night between 5 p.m. and midnight, no more than three times per week, to avoid water evaporation loss. In an hour, 600 gallons of water can be wasted.

* Position sprinklers to water the lawn to avoid water spraying on pavement.

* Avoid watering on windy days when the wind not only blows water off target but also causes excess evaporation.

* Know how to turn off an automatic sprinkler system in case of rain. There are automatic rain sensors available that prevent automatic sprinkler from starting if it has just rained.

* Use an alarm clock or timer as a reminder to shut off hose-fed sprinklers.

* Consider delaying the seeding or sodding of new lawns.

* Golf courses and athletic fields shall attempt to reduce water consumption by 50 percent.

* While waiting for water to get hot, catch running water from sink and tub faucets and use for animals to drink or to water plants.

* Use a broom instead of water to wash down sidewalks, patios and driveways.

* Do not fill empty swimming pools or wading pools.

* Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket. Put tissues and trash in a trashcan.

* Limit toilet flushes.

* Use disposable and biodegradable dishes where possible.

* Aerate lawns by punching holes 6 inches apart. This allows water to reach roots rather than run off surfaces.

* Keep sprinkler heads clean to prevent uneven watering.

* Adjust hose to simulate a gentle rain.

* Install automatic shut-off devices on sprinkler systems.

* The city will delay the implementation of landscape code requirements until the next planting season after Return-to-Normal condition. However, a performance bond will be required for any landscaping required by the city's Unified Development Ordin-ance.