WILMINGTON -- On Monday Gov. Mike Easley called on towns and counties across the state to help save water. Wednesday night Wilmington City Council unanimously passed a resolution upping Wilmington's conservation efforts from voluntary to mandatory -- effective immediately. It was the first item on the City Council agenda. Councilwoman Laura Padgett read the resolution making water conservation mandatory throughout the city. Padgett said, "Nobody wants to put this in place but if we don't we may wish we had and we have to recognize that we have limited access to water." Much of the state is experiencing the worst drought in recorded history. Monday Gov. Easely addressed the North Carolina League of Municipalities, asking towns and cities across the state to help save water. City officials say the address prompted City Council to pass stage two water restrictions. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said, "I think we should do our part to help restrict the use of water in this community until we get through this crisis." Effective immediately city residents are prohibited from outside water use. That means no washing cars or watering lawns or gardens. Residents found violating the restrictions will be warned first, but if they repeatedly break the rules, they will be fined $500, each time. Wilmington city officials say water restrictions do not apply to businesses like car washes, they generally use recycled water. City officials say Wilmington's water supply, while low, isn't at a severe deficit. But, they say if the drought continues, and the water level falls below the lock and dam in the Cape Fear River there is only a 30- to 35-day water supply.
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