North Carolina is blessed with short, mild winters offset by long months of heat and humidity. That hot weather comes with a price. Summers with low levels of rainfall can put the state and county at a bit of a deficit, and remind us of the importance of conservation. There are only a handful of strict watering restrictions in Charlotte, N.C., but there are some common-sense measures you can take to reduce the amount of water you use.
The City of Charlotte lists watering tips to help lighten the irrigation load in the city. These include only watering 1 inch per week, (that’s really all your lawn needs!) and controlling water-hogging weeds. The city also recommends using drip irrigation to apply water to the roots of your trees and using a rain sensor to avoid unnecessary watering. You can also save water by mulching planting beds, and only watering in the pre-dawn hours.
Water Restriction Levels
Although it’s not enforced, spray irrigation should always occur between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. and should follow an odd/even pattern. That means odd addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and even addresses water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Handheld watering with a container or hose is OK anytime, as is car washing and filling swimming pools.
D0- Abnormally Dry
During this first level of drought conservation, the same odd/even schedule seen in normal conditions becomes mandatory for spray irrigation. But, irrigating by hand, car-washing and pool filling is still allowed at any time.
D1- Moderate Drought
Under moderate drought conditions, spray irrigation becomes restricted to two days per week. Odd addresses may water on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Even addresses are limited to Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Handheld watering, car washing, and pool filling are still allowed at any time.
D2- Severe Drought
During a severe drought, spray irrigation is still allowed on two days of the week, on an odd/even basis, but the hours become restricted. Odd addresses may water on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and even addresses may water on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Watering with a hand-held tool is OK between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Car-washing is allowed only on specific days: odd addresses on Saturdays and even addresses on Sundays. The city prohibits the filling of swimming pools, but you can top them off to a maximum of 12 inches per week.
D3- Extreme Drought
Under extreme drought conditions, the city restricts spray irrigation to one day per week. Odd addresses may water Tuesday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and even addresses Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Hand-held watering is still allowed from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. on any day. Car washing is only allowed on weekends, odd addresses on Saturday and even addresses on Sunday. Filling and topping off of pools under these levels is a no-no.
D4- Exceptional Drought
This level of drought is extremely rare in North Carolina. When the water supply is this low, spray irrigation is no longer permitted. Neither is car washing or filling or topping off swimming pools. It’s still OK to water by hand any day from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
It’s always a good idea to practice water conservation, but if you’re not sure of the current restriction, you can always check the North Carolina Drought Monitor. Remember, the watering restrictions in Charlotte are not a punishment, but rather an individual action we all take to contribute to the greater good of our neighbors across the state. Responsible water use benefits the community at large. Want to learn more about lawn care and gardening in Charlotte? Visit our Charlotte Lawn Care page.