Dependable Erection

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lake Michie? Full

It's official. Lake Michie is full and water is "spilling over the dam." With inflows continuing well above normal, the city is pumping as much as 18 million gallons per day from Lake Michie to the Little River reservoir, which is still about a dozen feet below normal. According to Ray's article in the HS, we're not currently drawing water from the Eno to fill up the Teer quarry, which i guess explains why that's been stuck at 19 days of supply for the past week or so.

There's another big rain in the forecast for tomorrow through Saturday morning, another 1-2 inches. Between that and the transfers between reservoirs, we should be in as good a shape, water supply-wise, as is possible.

These charts over at WRAL show that for the most recent 30 and 90 day periods, we're actually slightly above normal rainfall totals, although we remain in a deficit for the past 12 months and since 1/1/07. It's important to keep in mind that we're still below the total supplies we had on hand one year ago, although this weekend's rains should change that.

What does that mean? Well, we've done the best we can with supply. Even the groundwater that Michael is concerned about in previous comments is probably going to be significantly recharged with the upcoming 24 hour soak. (I'm starting to see certain areas in my neighborhood trickling for 48 hours after a rain, which tells me that the ground is holding a lot of water.) Now, it's time to start thinking seriously and long term about managing demand. And that involves more than just asking existing residents not to flush the toilet unless necessary, or take 4 minute showers. Recognition that water is a growth limiting resource simply has to start factoring into our development decisions. Especially if the trend toward distinct rainy and dry seasons that seems to be developing over the past 10 -15 years continues.

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4 Comments:

  • Now the concern becomes, I think, making sure that our water rates and impact fees are sufficient to pay for infrastructure. The tiered water rates that should be going into effect this summer some time could help with that, depending on how their structured, but I'd say that an increase in the water, sewer, and storm water impact fee might not be a bad idea either...

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:42 AM  

  • The city doesn't currently have either the ability or regulatory permission to pump water from the Eno or the lakes into Teer Quarry. Those things are still pending and about a year out.

    By Blogger Ray Gronberg, at 1:29 PM  

  • Thanks, Ray. I seem to recall that the pumps had come online late last year, and that the city is authorized to take 5 mgd, as long as the flow doesn't drop below 10 mgd downstream for the inlet.

    Now i'll have to go back in the archives and see where i read that.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:33 PM  

  • The pumps that came on line were to take water out of the quarry. There are also pumps from the Eno but they go direct to the water plants. There's a missing link in there to put water into the quarry.

    By Blogger Ray Gronberg, at 1:40 PM  

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