Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Drought in Indiana Brings Water Use Restrictions

Citizens Water has asked Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to declare a Water Shortage Warning in Marion County in order to implement mandatory water use restrictions including a ban on lawn watering.

These restrictions, expected to be implemented tomorrow (13 July), under the Indianapolis Water Conservation Ordinance, apply to residents in all Marion County communities except Lawrence and Speedway, which operate their own water systems.

While the Indianapolis restrictions may not be enforceable in communities outside Marion County, Citizens is asking all of its customers to abide by the mandatory restrictions or other similar restrictions that may be implemented and enforceable in their own communities.

Mandatory water restrictions are now necessary to maintain proper water pressure to ensure public safety and adequate water supplies for all Central Indiana customers throughout the summer, the company says. Drought conditions and high water use are causing reservoir levels to fall quickly and are putting stress on the distribution system leading to costly main breaks.

Citizens realizes mandatory water use restrictions will create concern among some customers, but the following water use restrictions are absolutely necessary given the continued severe drought conditions.

Indianapolis Water Conservation Ordinance Restrictions:
Customers should be aware that under the water use restrictions during a water warning, the following actions are unlawful under the Marion County Water Conservation Ordinance (Chapter 706).
· Sprinkling, watering, or irrigating of grass;
· Washing cars, trucks, trailers, mobile homes, railroad cars or any other type of mobile equipment, except as required by applicable local, state, or federal law for health or safety reasons;
· Using water to clean sidewalks, driveways, paved areas, structures, buildings, or other outdoor surfaces;
· Filling empty swimming pools;
· Installing new landscaping or new lawn by using sod until return to normal conditions are declared by the mayor;
· Using hydrants except for fire suppression or as otherwise directed by Citizens Energy Group; and
· Operating water fountains that are non-recycling.

Exception: · Vegetable gardens and flowers may be watered every other day by container or hand-held hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle. It is also permissible to water trees once per week.

Exemptions: The following water users and water uses shall be exempt from the prohibitions noted above: · Nurseries -- Provided water use is limited to the amount essential to preserve inventories;
· Automatic commercial car washes -- Provided a majority of the water used is recycled;
· Manual commercial car washes -- Provided only a handheld hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle is utilized;
· Golf courses -- Provided tee boxes and greens are watered only on an every other day schedule that begins on Monday of each week and fairways are watered only once per week on Thursday; and
· Parks -- Any watering of property owned or controlled by the department of parks and recreation as directed by the mayor or mayor's designee where such watering is necessary or appropriate for asset preservation.

· Each customer shall be responsible for compliance with the ordinance with respect to the premises where the customer receives water service. If the identity of the water user cannot be ascertained, the customer with service at that address shall be liable for violations that occur on such premises.
· Water Conservation Penalties are as follows: · First violation in twelve-month period = $100
· Second violation in twelve-month period = $250
· Third violation in twelve-month period = not less than $500
· Fourth violation in twelve-month period = up to $2500 per day per violation Enforcement

The Water Conservation Ordinance shall be enforced by the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement. (G.O. 15, 2009, § 1; G.O. 36, 2011, § 24)

(Photo by Ivan Prole)

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