Rock Hill warns it may impose water restrictions

The city of Rock Hill declared Friday that unless at least a half-inch of rain falls in the next five days, mandatory water restrictions likely will be imposed by the end of next week.

City officials will meet Tuesday to make a decision.

"If people make a real effort to cut back their water use, we may be able to hold off mandatory restrictions for the time being," Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley said.

The best chance for rain might be today. Forecasters call for a 30 percent chance during the afternoon, but it "doesn't look like anything real widespread," meteorologist Blair Holloway of the National Weather Service said.

Rock Hill treats and distributes water to the town of Fort Mill and York County, which in turn serve water to River Hills, Tega Cay, the city of York and other subdivisions in the northern and western sections. Each of these customers has agreed to the plan.

Rock Hill's Utilities Department has gotten complaints about people continuing to use sprinkler systems and wash cars, seriously depleting the already-taxed water system.

Mandatory restrictions would call for limiting lawn-watering to two days a week between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Water runoff into the street, parking lots or sidewalks would be prohibited. Fines of up to $300 can be issued to violators.

The York County area has been upgraded to a Stage 1 drought, while the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has upgraded the drought status statewide to moderate.