U.S. Water News Online
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Unless North Carolina seeks new water
conservation methods, the ongoing population boom will make it
difficult for state officials to prevent long-term water shortages,
experts told hundreds of state and local leaders at a water
If simple technology solutions such as low-flow showerheads aren't
used, governments will have to consider limits on residential growth
or the development of smaller, more expensive water reservoirs, said
John Morris, director of the North Carolina Division of Water
"Our ability to add to our supply of water is going to level off
because we're only working with the same amount of rainfall," Morris
said. "Water is going to get more expensive and more difficult to
The meeting, dubbed the Strategic Water Technology Conference, was
billed as a discussion of long-term solutions, but it also
underscored the urgency of the state's worsening drought.
Officials called the meeting just a month ago, but local and state
leaders packed a Raleigh conference room to hear the solutions.
Morris said in an interview that state leaders should consider
providing rebates to people who purchase low-water appliances and
assistance to help people install showerheads or other tools to lower
He also suggested state leaders provide consumers with a water
efficiency standard, much like the "Energy Star" label that goes on
He expressed concern about a growth in per capita water use,
speculating more elaborate landscapes in new subdivisions may be
Conservation leaders shared ideas on capturing rainwater, water
reclamation and the use of drought-tolerant plants. Mike Nicklas, the
president of Raleigh-based architectural firm Innovative Design,
suggested that energy efficiency would also help take the burden off
utility companies that use water.
The country loses billions of gallons of water per day because of
leaks in pipes and governments can use electronic listening devices
to detect those spots, said Lloyd Hathcock, chairman of the American
Water Works Association's National Water Conservation Committee.
"Water conservation is not a one-size fit all," Hathcock said.
"What's going to satisfy the needs for somebody in western North
Carolina may not be the same group of practices that satisfy the
needs in eastern North Carolina."
Exceptional drought conditions &emdash; the worst category
described by the U.S. Drought Monitor &emdash; now cover 66 percent
of the state. The remainder of North Carolina is under either extreme
or severe drought, according to the monitor report.
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