Users of raw water, such as the Graham Country Club, the Lakewood West and East subdivisions and residents along Lake Graham, will now be held to the same water restrictions as the rest of Graham as decided by the city council Thursday morning and stated in a press release from the city later that day.

“Raw water” refers to water pumped for use directly from Lake Graham. For years, consumers of this raw water, such as Graham Country Club and the homes directly on Lake Graham, have held agreements and contracts with the city allowing for its use. Prior to May 22, water restrictions were not being enforced for these customers. At Thursday’s meeting city officials clarified that these restrictions should indeed be enforced. 

“Considering the fact that everyone in town that is using our public water is under (the) same restrictions per the drought contingency plan, we feel that they should be having to follow the same (restrictions) as everyone in town,” explained inspector and building official Jason Cottongame to the city council. “We’re just looking for y’all’s direction to do that.” 

Thursday morning also marked Jack Graham’s first official city council meeting as mayor of Graham, and he agreed with Cottongame. 

“I don’t know why anyone that’s taking water out of Lake Graham wouldn’t need to follow the same restriction,” said Graham at the meeting. “So I think that is something that we need to enforce.”

The golf course at the Graham Country Club has been voluntarily following the water restrictions all along, said GCC Superintendent J.R. Bohn. They’ve been watering only twice a week up until Thursday, and will switch to once a week to follow the new restrictions. 

“It’s hard and dry. I’m driving balls further than ever,” Bohn joked about the speed of the course. 

City council also gave clearance to restrict bulk water sales. 

“Bulk water sales from the two stations on SH 16 will be reduced from 7 days per week to 4 days per week, Monday through Thursday,” states a recent press release from the City of Graham.

The bulk water stations allow anyone to drive up, feed a meter and fill whatever container they bring with water.

“Our best way of regulating it is really going to be to cut back the amount of days a week they can use it,” said Cottongame. 

City council also passed city ordinance no.1018, lowering wholesale water prices from $4.32 per 1,000 gallons to $3.91 per 1,000 gallons. Some examples of wholesale water customers include the City of Newcastle, the City of Bryson and Ft. Belknap Water Supply. 

Wholesale customers are also required to meet the same, or more intensive, water restrictions as those Graham has imposed. 

The water conservation and drought contingency plan adopted by the city is broken down into five stages, with Graham adopting stage 3 restrictions as of Thursday, May 22. Stage 3 restrictions ban the watering of lawns with sprinklers except during a designated time once a week. Wednesdays, addresses ending with odd numbers can water, and on Thursdays addresses ending with even numbers may water, but only before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.