Submitted by WWAY on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 3:55pm.

RALEIGH (AP) -- Gov. Mike Easley wants North Carolina residents to cut their water use by 50 percent between now and Halloween to see how they can cope with critically low water levels. Easley has already asked communities across the state to conserve water as drought worsens statewide. As of last week, 71 of North Carolina's 100 counties were in exceptional drought, the federal government's highest classification. The governor said residents should experiment with drastic cuts in water use over the coming week so officials can see whether the state will be able to manage as the supply of water continues to drop. The governor's office will monitor public water systems across the state, then release a list of those that saw significant reductions in water consumption between Monday and Oct. 31. The state will keep gathering information about water use until the drought ends. Water conservation information: (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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