N.C. Governor Calls on Municipalities to Lead Citizens in Conserving Water

On Oct. 15, Gov. Mike Easley called on the state's municipal leaders to take the lead in directing citizens to stop using water for any purpose that is not essential to public health and safety so communities can save their dwindling water supplies and avoid more stringent restrictions.

According to the governor's office, the drought across much of the state is the worst in recorded history. With a winter forecast of drier than normal conditions, the governor said every citizen must save water in every way possible to avoid a water crisis that could lead to rationing.

"Several communities have as little as three month' 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," asley said. " bit of mud on the car or patches of brown on the lawn must be a badge of honor. It means you are doing the right thing for your community and our state."

Easley spoke to the about 1,000 mayors, council members and city managers attending the N.C. League of Municipalities Annual Conference in Fayetteville. He asked the top officials of the state' cities and towns to lead their communities in taking the following actions:

  • Stop watering lawns and shrubbery at homes and businesses.
  • Do not wash down houses, driveways or sidewalks. -- Do not wash your car.
  • Restaurants should only serve water when patrons ask.

The governor also announced that, effective immediately, there is a statewide ban on all public burning. The N.C. Division of Forest Resources says more than 5,940 fires have already burned more than 33,085 acres in North Carolina this year. Because the state is in the fall fire season, with especially dry conditions throughout the state, the threat of wildfires has substantially increased.

The governor's staff, state environment officials and members of the League of Municipalities have been meeting to coordinate on strategies for dealing with the drought. The governor praised local officials for the cooperative way that many communities have responded to his requests for voluntary and mandatory water conservation as the drought worsened. Several communities' conservation measures have already resulted in reduced water consumption.

Easley said that the entire state must work together to try to lessen the drought's impact. The governor has asked Secretary of Administration Britt Cobb and Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Bill Ross to personally monitor state agencies' compliance with the water conservation directive he issued earlier this summer. He said residents should continue to do simple things like turning off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving, but that the seriousness of the drought means that cities and towns can no longer consider just the water needs of their own populations.

For a list of water conservation tips, go to http://p2pays.org/water/TopTen.asp. Residents can check the status of their own community's water conservation measures at www.ncwater.org/Drought_Monitoring/reporting/displaystate.php.

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