On Your Side: Water Violators High and Dry

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 29, 2007

COLUMBIA CO., GA--Watering restrictions are in place across the Georgia because of the drought. And Columbia County Water Utility is proving they mean business, follow the rules or get your water disconnected.

It's happened to more than 50 customers already and News 12 is on your side with what you need to know to save yourself the headache.

It's simple. During this Level 2 Drought, you can only water outside during you're allotted time. If you break that rule, you run the risk of being caught and paying the price.

Dry lawns and dead flowers, you guessed it, the hot dry days of summer are here and so are watering restrictions. Out to make sure you are following the rules is Columbia County Water Utility

William Clayton is the director of Columbia County's Water Utility.
"The last thing we want to be in is the police business but that's where we find ourselves to be, in the police business."

That's right. In Columbia County, if you are caught watering outside your allotted time, you can expect a visit from Water Utility. On the first offense, you'll be written a warning. The second time, well, you're left high and dry.

"We do not warn on the second occasion. On the second occasion if you've been warned and given a citation then we disconnect your service. Then it's up to you to get a hold of us to reconnect." says Clayton.

Reconnect with a thirty dollar fee attached. It's a hard lesson more than fifty customers across the county have already learned, but more may soon be faced with the same problem.

"What we have seen is a real increase in the number of warnings handed out and in doing that sooner or later that dial is going to come back around so that you've been given a warning and we're there to shut your water off. It could happen at any time." explains Clayton.

Columbia County says they're out day and night seven days a week to make sure everyone is following the rules. And while they are among the first in the state to impose such a costly penalty, Water Utility says it's in everyone's best interest.

"I think we have an obligation to all of our customers who are abiding by the water conservation plan to make sure that everyone does because water saved by your neighbor is water saved for you." adds Clayton.

More than five hundred citations have been written in the last month to business and homeowners. But, so far no businesses have had their water disconnected.

There are some people that think they can still water if they drag out the hose and do it by hand, but that's not the case. Whether you've got sprinklers or you’re just watering the hedges, it's all breaking the rules. However you can still water things such as flowers on your porch, but that's about it.

Remember, in this part of Georgia, you can only water between Midnight and Ten a.m. There's no watering on Monday. You can water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday if you have an even address; Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday if you have an odd number.


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