Voluntary Water Restrictions Removed
Thanks to recent rains, voluntary water restrictions are no longer in place for Hillsborough water customers.
Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver signed a proclamation today ending the voluntary restrictions, which were established in September and which asked customers to try to reduce water use by 10%.
“We’re so appreciative of the community’s willingness to use less water when called to do so,” Weaver said. “Our drinking supply is one of our most critical assets.”
The town’s reservoir has now reached its original pool elevation of 43 feet. Its water level had been lowered about 4 to 5 feet before construction started on an expansion in April 2018. Lack of significant rain during the summer and fall delayed refilling of the reservoir to its original level after work was completed on the new spillway. Once a related roads project is complete, the West Fork Eno Reservoir will be allowed to fill to its new depth of 53 feet.
“By the end of this year, the reservoir should be able to be raised to its Phase II pool level, nearly doubling its capacity and proving a sustainable supply of water for town customers,” Hillsborough Utilities Director Marie Strandwitz said. “Thank you to all who helped conserve.”
When at its full Phase I depth, the reservoir has nearly 365 days of storage with a typical daily use of 1.1 million gallons and with minimum releases to support the Eno River’s flow. The town is required to regularly release water to maintain a minimum flow in the Eno River for water quality and aquatic life purposes.
The first phase of the reservoir was completed in 2000, and the permit included plans to expand the reservoir. Additional information is available on the project page on the town’s website: West Fork Eno Reservoir Expansion: Phase II.
Background on water restrictions
Below is a timeline of actions related to the voluntary water restrictions:
Early September ― Because the Eno River’s average flow had fallen below 10 cubic feet per second for seven consecutive days, a Stage 1 water withdrawal restriction was implemented, per voluntary agreement with the state and neighboring water providers. This meant the town could not freely withdraw as much water from the Eno as the town needed to support its operations and customer use. The Eno is the source of the town’s raw water, which is treated and distributed for drinking. The town managed the restriction internally by adjusting its water tank storage and by delaying its hydrant flushing program, which was to have started on Sept. 9.
Sept. 25 ― Due to continued lack of rain, the town implemented voluntary water restrictions for customers with the issuance of a proclamation. The fall hydrant flushing, which helps maintain the water system’s circulation and water quality by removing sediment from lines, was then canceled. Practices similar to those established in early September remained in place.
Early December ― The Eno withdrawal restriction for the town was removed due to more significant rainfall since mid-October, which improved the river’s average flow. The town opted to continue voluntary use restrictions for water customers as the reservoir was still significantly below its Phase I depth.
Feb. 13 ― The voluntary use restrictions were removed by proclamation due to the reservoir filling to its Phase I depth.