At the North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) annual meeting on October 15, Governor Easley called upon all municipal water systems to implement additional water restrictions in light of the State’s worsening drought.
In response, the Burlington City Council, at its October 16 meeting, agreed to implement Stage III Moderate Mandatory Conservation measures and voted to further reduce water sales to the City of Greensboro by an additional 20%. These measures are scheduled to go into effect on November 1.
Easley informed local leaders at the NCLM meeting that, “State law gives me [Easley] emergency powers to take action, even ordering rationing, if there is a threat to life and property.” While the Governor said that he did not wish to use these powers, he is relying on local officials to “make the tough choices today to avoid a crisis in the weeks or months to come.”
While Burlington continues to maintain an adequate water supply, Council and City staff emphasized the importance of preparation as conditions could potentially worsen over the winter months. Climatologists are continuing to call for a dry winter with the possibility of conditions continuing into the spring.
Council agreed with City staff that proactive measures must be taken now to help mitigate future supply concerns.
Stage III Moderate Mandatory Conservation measures prohibit the:
· watering or sprinkling of lawns, grass, trees, flowers, vegetable gardens and ornamental shrubs EXCEPT by hand-held hose, container or drip irrigation system during the hours of 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Wednesdays and 7:00 AM to 12:00 noon on Saturdays;
· introduction of water into wading pools or swimming pools except to the extent necessary to replenish loss due to evaporation or spillage, and maintain operation of chemical feed equipment;
· use of water to wash down outside areas such as sidewalks, patios, driveways, or for similar purposes;
· introduction of water into any decorative fountain, pool or pond except where water is recycled;
· serving of water in restaurants or similar establishments except upon request;
· use of water for any unnecessary purpose or intentionally wasting water;
· washing of cars, boats or other vehicles at residences;
Commercial car washes are still permitted to operate; however, the City encourages them to recycle their water. Additionally, persons engaged in the sale of plants shall be permitted to use water conservatively to sustain their stock.
Golf courses and institutions owning athletic fields (including composition tennis courts) shall be required to reduce water usage by 50% with watering only permitted between the hours of 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM.
The following fees shall be imposed for water infractions:
· 1st Offense – Warning
· 2nd Offense – $100.00
· 3rd Offense – $250.00
· 4th Offense – Interruption of service
The City is awaiting results from a study that will help to determine the approximate water quantity in City’s reservoirs, which will help in deciding the need for future restrictions. The City is urging all residents to be vigilant in preserving this vital natural resource.
A copy of these restrictions will be made available to citizens via water bill inserts, flyers at City facilities, and the City’s website www.burlingtonnc.gov.
For additional information on water conservation measures, contact the Burlington Public Information Office at 222-5076.