Ready Raleigh Drought Emergency


Emergency Preparedness - Ready Raleigh Guide

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Before and after a drought Conservation Tips

A drought is a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.

Risks associated with drought

  • Increased risk of wildfire
  • Increased risk of dust storms

Before and after a drought

Before a drought

Strategies for drought preparedness focus mainly on water conservation. Even under normal rainfall conditions, water conservation measures can save energy and money in your home.

During a drought

Always observe state and local restrictions on water use during a drought. If restricted, do not water your lawn, wash your car, or use water for other non-essential tasks, to help ensure there is enough water for essential uses.

Free Water Conservation Kit:

Raleigh Water will provide water conservation kits to all single family home water and/or sewer customers (one kit per utility account).
Kits include:

  • Two high-efficiency bathroom aerators
  • One high-efficiency showerhead
  • One package of two toilet leak detection tablets

Please send an email to for more information.

Conservation Tips

Some useful tips to reduce household water consumption include:

  • Repair dripping faucets and showers.
  • Check all plumbing for leaks and have any leaks repaired by a plumber.
  • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
  • Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.
  • Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient
  • Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less water than older models.
  • Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
  • Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste or simply dispose of food in the garbage. (Kitchen sink disposals require a lot of water to operate properly).
  • Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.
  • Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
  • Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.
  • Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.
  • Plant drought-resistant lawn seed. Reduce or eliminate lawn areas that are not used frequently.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. Applying fertilizer increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
  • Turn irrigation down in fall and off in winter. Water manually in winter only if needed.

Indoor water conservation tips while in a drought


  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
  • Avoid taking baths - take short showers - turn on water only to get wet and lather and then again to rinse off.
  • Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving.
  • Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering plants.


  • Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. Use the “light wash” feature, if available, to use less water.
  • Hand wash dishes by filling two containers - one with soapy water and the other with rinse water containing a small amount of chlorine bleach.
  • Clean vegetables in a pan filled with water rather than running water from the tap.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Do not let the tap run while you are waiting for water to cool.
  • Avoid wasting water while waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in a microwave.
  • Avoid rinsing dishes before placing them in the dishwasher; just remove large particles of food. (Most dishwashers can clean soiled dishes very well, so dishes do not have to be rinsed before washing)
  • Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave oven.

Operate automatic clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of your load.

Outdoor water conservation tips while in a drought

Car Washing

  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • If you wash your own car, use a shut-off nozzle that can be adjusted down to a fine spray on your hose.

Lawn Care

  • Avoid over-watering your lawn and water only when needed:
    • A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week.
    • Check the soil moisture levels with a soil probe, spade or large screwdriver. You don’t need to water if the soil is still moist. If your grass springs back when you step on it, it doesn’t need water yet.
  • If your lawn does require watering, do so early in the morning or later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one in order for your lawn to better absorb moisture and avoid runoff.
  • Use a broom or blower instead of a hose to clean leaves and other debris from your driveway or sidewalk.
  • Avoid leaving sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours.
  • In extreme drought, allow lawns to die in favor of preserving trees and large shrubs.
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