News Releases

Water Customers Urged to Reduce Water Use

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019
Due to a lack of significant rainfall, the town has had to reduce its water withdrawals from the Eno River and increase releases into it to meet minimum flow criteria for the river.

Town of Hillsborough water customers are urged to reduce water use by 10% as the town has entered a Stage 1 water shortage, which calls for voluntary restrictions.

The town has issued a proclamation today for the voluntary restrictions as it has fewer than 180 days of water supply available. With the available water supply in Lake Orange and the West Fork Eno Reservoir, the town has approximately 165 days of water. Mandatory restrictions will be put in place if the supply falls below 135 days.


Hillsborough customers are encouraged to use the water conservation tips provided in the document below to reduce water usage by 10%.

Additionally, all customers who have spray irrigation systems should be following the town’s restrictions on use. Under normal conditions, spray irrigation is limited to 1 inch or three application days per week between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m.

  • Even-numbered properties may use spray systems on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • Odd-numbered properties may spray Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Irrigation systems also must have rain or moisture sensors. In addition for all outdoor water users, the town requires shut-off nozzles for all hoses used for hand watering, car washing, or other allowable outdoor uses.

For more information on irrigation systems, see the document below. Also, see irrigation system requirements, Section 14-19, in the Hillsborough Code of Ordinances.

Reasons for shortage

Lack of significant rain and the Phase II construction to expand the town’s reservoir are factors in the Stage 1 shortage.

The Hillsborough area has received no significant rainfall in over a month, which has affected the amount of water the town can withdraw from the Eno River as well as the amount of water it must release into the Eno to meet minimum flow criteria in the river for water quality and aquatic life purposes. The Eno is the source of the town’s raw water, which is treated and distributed for drinking.

Earlier this month, Hillsborough ― and other partners in a voluntary capacity use agreement for the Eno ― entered Stage 1 restrictions regarding water withdrawal. At that time, the river’s average flow had fallen below 10 cubic feet per second for seven consecutive days. To try to meet the withdrawal restrictions, the town has delayed its hydrant flushing program, which was scheduled to start Sept. 9; reduced its own water use; and applied additional management strategies to its treatment plant and water tank operations.

Additional requirements to release enough water to meet minimum flow criteria in the river have further reduced the town’s available water capacity, triggering the voluntary water restrictions.

The town’s water supply was already at a lower level when entering the area’s historically drier months due to construction to expand the West Fork Eno Reservoir. The reservoir’s existing water level has had to be maintained about 4 to 5 feet lower than normal, equating to an estimated 88 days of less available capacity while the Phase II expansion is underway.

Related documents

Document Proclamation  

Document Tips for Conserving Water  

Document Irrigation Systems  

Document Drought Policy