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Durham reported to move to Stage 4 water restrictions next week

WRAL is reporting this evening that Durham's Water Management staff met with Patrick Baker today and recommended moving the Bull City to Stage IV water restrictions effective next Monday, Dec. 3.

Stage IV "Severe Mandatory Conservation" restrictions, detailed below, clamp down further by banning watering of any outdoor landscaping, including lawns, trees and golf greens (and, presumably, Astroturf) except for limited such actions by commercial landscapers and contractors. Limited garden and shrub watering would be allowed subject to restriction. Motor vehicle or mobile equipment washing would also be banned except commercial car washes that can document 50% water savings, presumably via on-site recycling. In general, businesses seeking to use water need to list how they intend to conserve water use by 50%.

Stage IV is the antepenultimate step in Durham's water rules, followed by Stage V ("Stringent Mandatory Conservation") and Stage VI (the darkly titled "Rationing" -- which restricts '[a]ll other uses of water ... to those necessary to meet minimum health and safety needs of the customers.')

[BCR is unable to confirm the rumor that the City will shortly consider modifying the ordinance to include several additional water restriction stages including Stage VIII ("Have You Tried Drinking Your Swimming Pool Water"), Stage XI ("Public Baths Established in American Tobacco's Old Bull River Water Feature"), or Stage XVII ("Move the @!*# Back to New Jersey").]

In all seriousness, WRAL reports that Baker is likely to announce the city will be moving forward with Stage IV restrictions on Tuesday morning save for a significant increase in water levels overnight Monday due to rain.

Current days remaining of "premium water" (explained here) are 59. Read the full Stage IV restrictions after the jump.

. . .

Stage IV - Severe Mandatory Conservation
. Customers shall be encouraged to observe the conservation measures in Stages I and II and required to continue observing the mandatory requirements in Stage III except to the extent such mandatory requirements are modified by the restrictions regarding Stage IV conservation. The level of the conservation effort shall increase to require the following additional mandatory measures. No person shall:

  1. Water or sprinkle any lawn, grass, trees, golf greens or flowers. Provided, however, that a person regularly engaged in the sale of plants shall be permitted to use water for irrigation of their commercial stock in trade, using the minimal amount for survival. State, County and City licensed landscape contractors may continue to water plantings which are under written warranty by hand-held hose, container or drip irrigation.
  2. Water any vegetable garden or ornamental shrubs except by hand-held hose, container, or drip irrigation system, during hours specified by the City manager. Those hours shall, unless varied by the Manager, be between the hours of 5:00 am and 9:00 am OR 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On each designated day, customers shall water during only one of the allowed periods. When adjustments are made by the Manager to the above times, they shall be published in local newspapers of general circulation, and set forth on the City’s website, where appropriate.
  3. Fill any wading pool or swimming pool or replenish any filled pool except to the minimum essential for operation of chemical feed equipment.
  4. Make nonessential use of water for commercial or public use.
  5. Operate water-cooled air conditioners or other equipment that do not recycle cooling water, except when health and safety are adversely affected.
  6. Wash any motor vehicle or other type of mobile equipment. Provided, however, that any person regularly engaged in the business of washing motor vehicles and any commercial car wash facility shall be permitted to use water for such purposes, when 50% water savings are documented.

Provided, however, any customer may secure a written license from the city manager or his designee to use water contrary to the Stage IV mandatory conservation measures where it can be shown to the manager’s satisfaction, and in the manager’s sole discretion, that use of water pursuant to conditions prescribed by the city manager in the license will result in a 50% or greater saving of water. Any license issued pursuant to this provision: (1) must be in the possession of the licensee whenever water is used contrary to the Stage IV mandatory conservation measures; and (2) is subject to amendment or revocation by the city manager at any time for good cause.

All industrial, manufacturing and commercial enterprises shall reduce consumption with a goal reduction of at least 50%. Such enterprises shall document the specific efforts they have made to reduce consumption. (Ord. No. 7028, 1, 7-28-86, revised 2-4-02)

Comments

B.C.Visitor

I imagine these restrictions apply to those on wells, as well? If not, can anyone have one drilled and would the use of one have a major impact on the current water supply. I'm guessing not? :| ???

M. Sugg

A permit is required to have a well dug. I am not under the impression that a well would even be allowed, when one has already tapped into the public system. There is the whole issue of treated sewage, and fees for that service are based on water usage. I'm certain there are other reasons, but I suspect this is one of the reasons why a well would not be permitted.

AMS

barry

"Provided, however, any customer may secure a written license from the city manager or his designee to use water contrary to the Stage IV mandatory conservation measures where it can be shown to the manager’s satisfaction, and in the manager’s sole discretion, that use of water pursuant to conditions prescribed by the city manager in the license will result in a 50% or greater saving of water. Any license issued pursuant to this provision: (1) must be in the possession of the licensee whenever water is used contrary to the Stage IV mandatory conservation measures; and (2) is subject to amendment or revocation by the city manager at any time for good cause."

The difference between Stage III (where we're at now) and Stage IV, is the change from 30% reduction to 50% reduction. The key sentence in these restrictions is, in my mind, "use of water pursuant to conditions prescribed by the city manager in the license *will result in a 50% or greater saving of water*."

the way i read this is that in order to receive on of the 5 dozen or so exemptions ( http://www.ci.durham.nc.us/departments/wm/s3_license_holders.cfm ) that have been granted, the organization seeking the exemption must actually reduce overall consumption by the desired amount (will result in), and not merely have the reduction as a goal. Whether or not the reduction occurs is a measurable fact. To that end, i have written to Vicki Westbrook at City of Durham Water Management several times over the past 6 weeks asking whether or not the department has documented compliance with the 30% reduction among these exempt organizations. At least one other citizen has joined me in seeking this information. We have not yet received a response.

I assume that Stage III exemptions will be automatically rolled over to Stage IV as a paperwork saving mechanism. Which makes it, in my mind, all the more imperative that the city be enforcing the mandatory reduction measures among those entities granted the exemptions. The question remains, how will we know whether or not this happens. Duke Univerity's use of water to condition the artifical surfaces of some of its athletic fields is a highly visible and easy to mock use of water under our current drought conditions; but there are over 60 other exempt entities, and if the city is doing anything to make sure that they are honoring the terms of their exemptions, it would be good for the rest of the city to know about that. As it stands, it's possible for citizens to believe that exemptions are being handed out to anyone who requests them, with no concomitant reduction in water use.

John Schelp

Thanks for your insights, Barry. Indeed, I've been asking for similar information from the City since Oct 31.

Right now, entities seeking exemptions for the Stage III limitations must meet a 30% reduction in water use.

The City website says that entities can get a written license "if it can be shown to the manager's satisfaction that the licensee's use of water will result in an overall thirty (30) percent or greater reduction in water use."

So, how are we doing?

The good news is that City staff promised me the numbers for my request. The bad news is they still haven't shared the information (several weeks later).

It will be interesting to see how the water management folks calculate and document compliance of these required reductions.

While I'm using a "bucket-in-the-shower" to flush the toilet, we can know that Durham's bigger water users are cutting water use by as much as they said they would (to be allowed an exemption).

I'd encourage everyone to drive up I-85 to Redwood Road and head east to the boat ramp on Falls Lake. I took my kids out there a couple weeks ago. It's shocking to stand out in a dry lake bed -- and see dry land in all directions...

barry

According to Ray Gronberg's piece at the Herald Sun site
http://www.heraldsun.com/durham/4-902111.cfm

Stage IV exemptions *do not* automatically roll over from Stage III exemptions.

Let's hope that the city takes the time to ensure that all of those entities with Stage III exemptions met their reductions before granting them Stage IV exemptions.

--Lisa S.

On a lighter note, I've always been a sucker for folks who can toss off a good "penultimate" once in awhile, but *antepenultimate*? Whoa, that's ultrasplendiferous....

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