That's the word from city officials, who are urging water customers to cut down on their water use by at least 10 percent.
The City Council asked people to conserve water Sept. 20 after news that Falls Lake, the city's primary drinking water source, was almost five feet below normal.
Dale Crisp, the city's public utilities director, said that customers did conserve water for a couple of days after the council action. But water use crept back up over the weekend.
Crisp said the drop might be because it rained the same day the council urged customers to save water.
About 0.61 inch fell at the Raleigh Durham International Airport on Sept. 20.
More rain fell Monday night -- about 0.05 inch. But it still isn't enough to make a big difference in the amount of water available in Falls Lake.
"The lake level is continuing to drop and, unfortunately, our customer demand is not," Crisp said. "That's a recipe for having to go to mandatory restrictions if we don't see some response from our customers in the next few weeks."
A conference call with officials from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brought more bad news Tuesday morning, Crisp said. The long-term weather forecast predicts that early October will be warm and dry.
"We can't count on having any relief from drought conditions through mid-October," Crisp said.
Raleigh provides water to Garner, Wake Forest and Rolesville. It also sells water to Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon.
The city urges its customers to water their lawns with irrigation systems or sprinklers only between midnight and 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight.
People with even-numbered addresses should water their lawns only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Those with odd-numbered addresses should water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Officials also are asking people to limit car washing and the filling of pools, check for leaks in toilets and faucets, and install water-saving devices.
Staff writer Sarah Lindenfeld Hall can be reached at 829-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.