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Chatham County issues mandatory water restrictions

By Debra Henzey
Posted Thursday, November 3, 2005

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Pittsboro, NC - Due to the severe drought and its impact on water supply levels, Chatham County has issued mandatory water conservation for all county water system customers. “We have a major rainfall shortage that has dropped the level of Jordan Lake to nearly 3.5 feet below normal. Many counties and municipalities are experiencing similar conditions and also have mandated water conservation,” said Will Baker, director of the Chatham County Utilities Department.

The restrictions apply to all county water customers, including those in the southeastern, southwestern, and northeastern districts. The restrictions include:

• Do not water lawns, gardens, shrubs, flowers and other vegetation;
• Do not wash vehicles, sidewalks, driveways, patios or other outdoor structures and equipment;
• Do not use water for decorative foundations, pools or ponds;
• Do not add water to swimming pools, unless a swimming pool is critically necessary to residents’ health;
• Restrict the hours of operation for water-cooled air conditioners or other equipment using non-recycled water for cooling;
• Use showers instead of bathtubs and limit showers to four minutes;
• Limit toilet flushing and do not let faucets run while shaving, brushing teeth or rinsing dishes;
• Limit usage of clothes washers and dishwashers by running full loads and only when necessary; and
• Install flow restriction devices in shower heads and place water-saving devices in toilets, such as bricks, bottles or commercial water-saving kits.

As a temporary step, residents also should consider using disposable dishes and dinnerware, even though this generates more disposable waste. “This is not a step that we would suggest in any other circumstance and should cease as soon as the water situation improves,” Baker said.

“We encourage our customers to be creative and think of other ideas for saving water since this is a critical situation,” said Baker. “We expect customers to assume responsibility for taking these actions, which will help us avoid more serious restrictions and possible water shortages. If you see your neighbor using water inappropriately, please let them know about the restrictions and urge them to conserve water.”

Water customers in violation of the restrictions will be fined $50 for a first offense, a misdemeanor. However, subsequent violations will result in $100 fines and termination of county-provided water.

While these restrictions apply to county water customers, droughts also cause the water table to drop so that wells also can start to experience shortages. This means that it is just as important for residents with wells to conserve water usage, Baker said.

If you have questions, contact the Utilities Department at 919-542-8254.

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Chatham County issues mandatory water restrictions

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