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Don’t be a drip, city officials say as water levels dip

You may not be able to finish singing your favorite song in the shower. Durham officials are encouraging water conservation measures in light of dipping water levels.

The City of Durham’s Department of Water Management reports lower-than-usual water levels in two of its reservoirs: Lake Michie and Little River Reservoir. Lake Michie, considered full at 341 feet, measured about 328 feet as of November 14, prompting the city to announce a nautical no-go on launching motorized boats from Michie’s ramp.

Historically, Lake Michie and Little River Resevoir’s lake levels dip during the fall and early winter seasons. Sydney Miller, the water resources manager for the Department of Water Management, is watching those numbers closely. 

“We are always concerned about water. It is something we are always paying attention to,” Miller said. “The water supply is lower now than it is usually at this time of year.” 

The city has about 80 days left of easily accessible, premium water. Meanwhile, the daily demand still hovers at about 29 million gallons, putting pressure on the city’s aqueous reserves. 

Even so, Miller is not too distressed. While reservoir levels are unusually low right now, they’ve been even lower at some points in the past. 

“The expectation is that we are approaching a time of year that we expect refill, and there has been no indication from the National Weather Service that this winter will be drier than usual,” he assures. “The expectation is that we will see refill in both of our reservoirs.” 

Don’t ditch short showers just yet. Water Management encourages residents to take proactive steps to conserve the city’s precious water by fixing leaks, running full loads of laundry and dishes, and reducing shower times. 

Miller hopes Durham residents will return to boating on Lake Michie soon. In the meantime, every drop counts.


Jon Kuperschmid