News Flash

Water Management

Posted on: September 24, 2023

It's Dry Out There

Water Management image of It's Dry Out There

It's Dry Out There



  • The City of Durham’s Department of Water Management regularly monitors the water levels in its two drinking water reservoirs: Lake Michie and Little River Reservoir.
  • Due to a lack of rainfall in the lakes’ watershed, high temperatures, and heavy water usage, the lake levels have been steadily dropping. Historically, Lake Michie and Little River Reservoir lake levels drop during the fall and early winter months. 
  • Although, Durham’s watersheds have experienced drier than normal conditions this summer, the City’s water supply situation has been exacerbated by construction at its Lake Michie pump station, dam, and intake. This very important capital project at our nearly 100-year-old facility has complicated efforts to maximize water use from both lakes during the latter part of the summer—this resulted in a heavy reliance in water from Little River Reservoir, which is slower to fill than Lake Michie.
  • As of September 24, 2023, Durham has a 152-day supply of water.

To stay current on Water Management's lake levels and other dates, bookmark these links:

The City of Durham has a Water Shortage Response Plan that highlights the criteria for declaring the four stages of water shortages. Read the Water Shortage Response Plan

Stage 1 Water Shortage Restrictions

If the City of Durham declared a Stage 1 Water Shortage, these would be some of restrictions.

  • Users shall not operate spray irrigation systems more than one day per week as specified by the Director of Water Management and based on the location address.
    • Odd-numbered addresses water on Saturdays before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
    • Even-numbered addresses water on Sundays before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • There are limited exceptions to the spray irrigation restriction, which can be found in the Stage 1 Water Shortage Response Plan on pages 5&6.
  • In Stage 1, users of more than 100,000 gallons are called to reduce their use by 15% and document such efforts.
  • Water Management will continue to review lake levels, water usage, and weather forecasts to determine if further restrictions are needed or if the Water Shortage Declaration can be rescinded.

Water Efficiency tips

Water Management encourages all customers to take proactive steps to conserve water. Some simple ways to help include:

  • Landscape Wisely: Consider deferring reseeding, adding new sod, or making other landscape changes that require additional water during this period of water scarcity. This is a very important consideration as we enter the fall planting season. 
  • Fix Leaks: Inspect and repair any leaking faucets, pipes, toilets, or appliances promptly.
  • Reduce Shower Time: Shorten your showers and consider turning off the water while lathering. 
  • Use Full Loads: Wait until you have a full load before running your dishwasher or washing machine.
  • Upgrade Appliances: Consider replacing older, inefficient appliances and fixtures with water-saving models and WaterSense labeled products. The City of Durham offers rebates on high efficiency toilets.

For more information visit Durham Saves Water.

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