DANVILLE — The Town Council here passed an ordinance at its meeting Monday regulating the use of the public water supply in the event of a shortage.
The mandate came about because of a dwindling water supply given the drought conditions and hot temperatures. Residents are already under a voluntary water restriction. They're asked to refrain from watering lawns and vegetation. If they do, those with even-numbered addresses should sprinkle on even-numbered days and odd-numbered addressees on odd-numbered days.
Other voluntary conservation measures in the ordinance include using a broom to clean driveways, have a shut-off nozzle on a water hose, do full loads for dishes and laundry, and check faucets, pipes, and toilets for leaks.
In the event of mandatory water conservation, those caught using public water in restricted ways can be fined up to $250 a day per violation. There are exemptions for businesses like car washes and golf courses.
"What I hope to accomplish with that is strike deals," said Town Manager Gary Eakin.
Jim Russell, superintendent of Danville's water department, gave his approval of the ordinance. He's still concerned about enforcing a mandatory water restriction, though. Talking with other water utilities, they say it's tough to stop service to residences other than for non-payment.
"You have to just keep fining people, and hopefully they'll get it through their heads that the penalty outweighs (the use)," Russell said. "If you're getting fined, there's probably a reason. Hopefully we don't have to go to that extreme."
A mandatory water restriction may have to be enforced before summer's end. Russell reported previously that water levels are already significantly down, as drought conditions started two months earlier this year compared to last. Meanwhile the utility is pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons above average daily. The long-range forecast calls for below-average rainfall and above-average temperatures for July.
It's those conditions that prompted town officials to postpone their planned July Fourth celebration. At Monday's meeting, the town council asked citizens to voluntarily refrain from using personal fireworks until the countywide burn ban has been lifted.
"It only takes one careless firework or sparkler landing on tinder-dry lawns and wood to get a fire started," read a statement the council issued. "In this period of drought and high heat, being responsible with flammable material, especially fireworks, is the utmost responsibility of all citizens."