§ 143‑355.4.  Water system efficiency.

(a) Local government water systems and large community water systems shall require separate meters for new in‑ground irrigation systems on lots platted and recorded in the office of the register of deeds in the county or counties in which the real property is located after July 1, 2009, that are connected to their systems. This section shall not apply to lots with privately owned septic tanks systems or other types of privately owned innovative on‑site wastewater systems if a lockable cutoff valve approved by the water system and a testable backflow prevention device approved by the water system for the appropriate level of risk associated with the irrigation system or other identified risk are installed on the water supply line for the irrigation system. The lockable cutoff value shall be installed on the water supply line for the irrigation system within 24 inches of the water meter and the testable backflow device shall be installed on the water supply line for the irrigation system.

(b) To be eligible for State water infrastructure funds from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund or the Drinking Water Reserve or any other grant or loan of funds allocated by the General Assembly whether the allocation of funds is to a State agency or to a nonprofit organization for the purpose of extending waterlines or expanding water treatment capacity, a local government or large community water system must demonstrate that the system:

(1) Has established a water rate structure that is adequate to pay the cost of maintaining, repairing, and operating the system, including reserves for payment of principal and interest on indebtedness incurred for maintenance or improvement of the water system during periods of normal use and periods of reduced water use due to implementation of water conservation measures. The funding agency shall apply guidelines developed by the State Water Infrastructure Authority in determining the adequacy of the water rate structure to support operation and maintenance of the system.

(2) Has implemented a leak detection and repair program.

(3) Has an approved water supply plan pursuant to G.S. 143‑355.

(4) Meters all water use except for water use that is impractical to meter, including, but not limited to, use of water for firefighting and to flush waterlines.

(5) Does not use a rate structure that gives residential water customers a lower per‑unit water rate as water use increases.

(6) Has evaluated the extent to which the future water needs of the water system can be met by reclaimed water.

(7) Has implemented a consumer education program that emphasizes the importance of water conservation and that includes information on measures that residential customers may implement to reduce water consumption. (2008‑143, s. 9; 2010‑142, s. 13; 2010‑180, s. 16; 2011‑374, s. 3.2; 2013‑360, s. 14.21(l); 2017‑130, s. 7.)