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OWASA asked customers Friday morning to limit water use to essential purposes because water supplies in its storage tanks have fallen to reduced levels.

OWASA expects to continue to receive water from the City of Durham for a few days due to an incident at its Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant as reported Thursday (more information is below).

However, water flow through connections between the Durham and OWASA systems has not been adequate to fill OWASA’s tanks to normal levels. Customers are therefore asked to use water only for essential purposes.

OWASA is working to restore the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant to normal operation as soon as it is safe to do so. OWASA expresses deep appreciation to its customers for conserving and to the City of Durham for its invaluable help with water supply.

Best ways to conserve water

  • Flush toilets only when necessary.
  • Take short showers (less than 5 minutes); shower instead of taking a bath, which uses more water.
  • Turn off water when not in use for brushing teeth, etc.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Use paper plates and plastic utensils to reduce dishwashing.
  • Check for and fix any leaks in toilets, faucets, hoses, pipes, etc.
  • Defer washing vehicles with drinking water. (Some car washes use well water.)

For more information on how to conserve water, please visit, click on Conservation and Education and then click on water conservation tips.

Background information

Due to an accidental overfeed of fluoride within the water treatment process, OWASA began receiving drinking water from the City of Durham late Thursday afternoon.

The fluoride overfeed was contained at the Jones Ferry Road Water Treatment Plant. No water with higher than normal fluoride reached the water pipe system, so the water is safe to drink.

Some customers may notice discoloration in their water because changes in water flows can stir up sediment in water lines. To clear the water, customers should run cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. If this does not clear the water, OWASA suggests for aesthetic reasons not using the discolored water and that customers contact OWASA at 919-968-4421 (24-hour number).

For more information: Greg Feller, Public Affairs Administrator, 919-537-4267 or

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