09/20/07 — Not sure about Goldsboro rules for water conservation?

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Not sure about Goldsboro rules for water conservation?

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 20, 2007 2:13 PM

The continued drought forced the Goldsboro City Council to impose mandatory water restrictions this week.

Despite several inches of rain over the weekend, water supplies remain at a critical low.

Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear said the current drought is "statistically the worst event in Goldsboro's history."

Mayor Al King said residents have to get serious about conserving water.

"We need to do all we can do to prepare for the worst, and we need to start now. And if the worst doesn't happen -- great. This water crisis bothers me very deeply."

King said he believes most people will honestly try to cut back on water use and avoid wasting water.

"Most responsible people, if they know, they'll (conserve) anyway," King said.

Residents, both individuals and businesses, can be fined for violating the restrictions.

Voluntary restrictions were imposed in June and those restrictions will continue.

Those measures include taking five minute showers instead of baths, not letting water run while shaving, brushing teeth and rinsing dishes, only running the dishwasher and clothes washing machine with full loads, and not allowing children to play with a hose or sprinklers.

One of the new mandatory measures only allows for watering lawns, gardens and plant material one day a week. Residents that live on the north side of Ash Street may water on Friday nights from 7 p.m. until Saturday at 7 a.m. Those that live on the south side of Ash Street may water from Saturday nights at 7 to Sunday mornings at 7 a.m.

People using water sprinkling systems are encouraged to set a timer to help remind them to turn off the water. As much as 600 gallons can be wasted in one hour.

Another restriction was placed on washing cars. Cars, trucks and even commercial vehicles may only be washed at commercial car washes.

Washing houses, driveways and rain gutters also is prohibited. And residents are forbidden to fill bird-baths or yard fountains.

Businesses are affected as much as residents.

Restaurants are being prohibited from serving a courtesy glass of water and are being urged to provide bottled water instead.

There is to be no use of water from public or private hydrants for any purpose other than fire suppression, public emergencies or water utility needs.

Also, the operation of water-cooled equipment that doesn't recycle cooling water is prohibited, except when health and safety are adversely affected.

Recreation areas aren't exempt from the restrictions. The people who maintain golf courses and athletic fields must reduce water consumption by 70 percent.

And large businesses have to cut down, too, by implementing a plan to reduce water 30 percent.

There is to be no water used for dust control or compacting, either.

And last, but not least, leaking water lines won't be tolerated and must be repaired within 24 hours of written notification by the city.

Penalties for violations of the restrictions start after a warning has been issued. The first fine for residential users is $100. Each offense thereafter will cost twice that amount.

Non-residential water users also will first be issued a warning. The next offense will earn the business or organization a $150 civil penalty and $50 administrative fee.

And if the fines won't help slow consumption, city officials say they will increase them until they do.

"I recommend fines should be higher by looking at what cities around us are doing," Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said at Monday's council meeting. "If you're not charging as much as they'd normally use, they'd actually save money and use it by breaking the law."

Residents who use private wells can call the city's code enforcement at 580-4362 to have a sign erected in their yards stating that they are not consuming public water.

County residents who use public water are not under mandatory water restrictions. But they are being encouraged to conserve as much as possible.

County public water systems draw from deep wells and have not been as affected by the drought as Goldsboro, which gets its water from the Neuse River.