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Dealing with the drought

Mandatory water restrictions for all Rock Hill water customers begin today in an effort to combat worsening drought conditions.

City officials announced on Thursday that Stage 2 water cutbacks are in effect until conditions improve, meaning lawn watering, car washing and many nonessential water uses are now restricted. Voluntary conservation requests have been in place most of the summer, but this is the first drought-mandated cutback since 2002.

Drought response measures range from voluntary cutbacks at Stage Zero to prohibiting all nonessential uses at Stage 4.

Bypassing a minimal Stage 1 response, City Manager Carey Smith called the Stage 2 measures "proactive" as drought conditions in the Catawba River Basin worsen after weeks of above average heat and little rain. Smith said the decision to require cutbacks was made after months of monitoring water levels on Lake Wylie, the city's main source for water, stream flow, groundwater and demand from wholesale customers in other parts of York County.

How long will it last?

Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley said drought conditions are worse than the peak of a five-year drought between 1998-2002. Rainfall to date this year is almost 40 percent below the average, he said, compared with about 30 percent in 2002. He hopes to reduce the city's 200 million gallon per month water usage by 10 percent.

Without significant rainfall, Bagley said residents can expect restrictions to continue until the rainy winter season.

"I don't think anybody should expect to come out of this soon," Bagley said. "If we see lake levels still aren't getting help, we'll move to a Stage 3."

Mayor Doug Echols said he trusts residents will comply with new requests.

"This drought is a serious situation," Echols warned. "We have a real challenge in front of us."

Adam O'Daniel • 329-4069

R

Time period Rainfall (in.)

2007 to date = 17.49

Average year to date = 28.01

August 2007 to date = .01

Average August to date = 1.56

May-July 2007 = 4.9

Average May-July = 10.2

-- Sources: National Weather Service, city of Rock Hill

The dos and don'ts

Mandatory cutbacks on residential and commercial water use begin today for Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay and York County water customers. Take a look at the new rules:

Water twice: Lawn and garden sprinklers, irrigation systems and other remote devices can only be used only twice a week between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All other times are prohibited.

-- Odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

-- Even-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays.

Use your hands: Watering with low-volume, hand-held devices is allowed any time of day. Officials suggest watering late at night and early in the morning, and remind residents that overwatering that causes runoff is prohibited.

Don't wash me: Washing cars, boats and other vehicles is prohibited. Residents are allowed to use commercial car washes that recycle water. Washing outdoor structures, parking lots and driveways also is prohibited.

No planting: City officials are encouraging residents to stop all new planting and landscaping, including new sod or seed that would require watering until the fall when rainy weather is more likely.

No exceptions: The same rules apply to all commercial industries and large institutions, including Winthrop University, Bowater and the school district. Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley said some large consumers will operate on different schedules to evenly distribute the load, but are still allowed to water only twice a week.

Play or pay: Anyone who violates water restrictions could face a $50 fine. City Manager Carey Smith said compliance is the main goal, but repeat offenders will be issued written warnings and potential fines.

Simple cuts: Mayor Doug Echols on Thursday reminded residents to further conserve water by taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of clothes and turning off faucets while shaving and brushing teeth. Each household could save hundreds of gallons a month by following those measures, he said.

Hotline: For more details about restrictions or to report violators, call the city's water hotline at 326-2450.

The dos and don'ts

Mandatory cutbacks on residential and commercial water use begin today for Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay and York County water customers. Take a look at the new rules:

Water twice: Lawn and garden sprinklers, irrigation systems and other remote devices can only be used only twice a week between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All other times are prohibited.

-- Odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

-- Even-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays.

Use your hands: Watering with low-volume, hand-held devices is allowed any time of day. Officials suggest watering late at night and early in the morning, and remind residents that overwatering that causes runoff is prohibited.

Don't wash me: Washing cars, boats and other vehicles is prohibited. Residents are allowed to use commercial car washes that recycle water. Washing outdoor structures, parking lots and driveways also is prohibited.

No planting: City officials are encouraging residents to stop all new planting and landscaping, including new sod or seed that would require watering until the fall when rainy weather is more likely.

No exceptions: The same rules apply to all commercial industries and large institutions, including Winthrop University, Bowater and the school district. Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley said some large consumers will operate on different schedules to evenly distribute the load, but are still allowed to water only twice a week.

Play or pay: Anyone who violates water restrictions could face a $50 fine. City Manager Carey Smith said compliance is the main goal, but repeat offenders will be issued written warnings and potential fines.

Simple cuts: Mayor Doug Echols on Thursday reminded residents to further conserve water by taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of clothes and turning off faucets while shaving and brushing teeth. Each household could save hundreds of gallons a month by following those measures, he said.

Hotline: For more details about restrictions or to report violators, call the city's water hotline at 326-2450.

The dos and don'ts

Mandatory cutbacks on residential and commercial water use begin today for Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay and York County water customers. Take a look at the new rules:

Water twice: Lawn and garden sprinklers, irrigation systems and other remote devices can only be used only twice a week between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All other times are prohibited.

-- Odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

-- Even-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays.

Use your hands: Watering with low-volume, hand-held devices is allowed any time of day. Officials suggest watering late at night and early in the morning, and remind residents that overwatering that causes runoff is prohibited.

Don't wash me: Washing cars, boats and other vehicles is prohibited. Residents are allowed to use commercial car washes that recycle water. Washing outdoor structures, parking lots and driveways also is prohibited.

No planting: City officials are encouraging residents to stop all new planting and landscaping, including new sod or seed that would require watering until the fall when rainy weather is more likely.

No exceptions: The same rules apply to all commercial industries and large institutions, including Winthrop University, Bowater and the school district. Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley said some large consumers will operate on different schedules to evenly distribute the load, but are still allowed to water only twice a week.

Play or pay: Anyone who violates water restrictions could face a $50 fine. City Manager Carey Smith said compliance is the main goal, but repeat offenders will be issued written warnings and potential fines.

Simple cuts: Mayor Doug Echols on Thursday reminded residents to further conserve water by taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of clothes and turning off faucets while shaving and brushing teeth. Each household could save hundreds of gallons a month by following those measures, he said.

Hotline: For more details about restrictions or to report violators, call the city's water hotline at 326-2450.

The dos and don'ts

Mandatory cutbacks on residential and commercial water use begin today for Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay and York County water customers. Take a look at the new rules:

Water twice: Lawn and garden sprinklers, irrigation systems and other remote devices can only be used only twice a week between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All other times are prohibited.

-- Odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

-- Even-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays.

Use your hands: Watering with low-volume, hand-held devices is allowed any time of day. Officials suggest watering late at night and early in the morning, and remind residents that overwatering that causes runoff is prohibited.

Don't wash me: Washing cars, boats and other vehicles is prohibited. Residents are allowed to use commercial car washes that recycle water. Washing outdoor structures, parking lots and driveways also is prohibited.

No planting: City officials are encouraging residents to stop all new planting and landscaping, including new sod or seed that would require watering until the fall when rainy weather is more likely.

No exceptions: The same rules apply to all commercial industries and large institutions, including Winthrop University, Bowater and the school district. Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley said some large consumers will operate on different schedules to evenly distribute the load, but are still allowed to water only twice a week.

Play or pay: Anyone who violates water restrictions could face a $50 fine. City Manager Carey Smith said compliance is the main goal, but repeat offenders will be issued written warnings and potential fines.

Simple cuts: Mayor Doug Echols on Thursday reminded residents to further conserve water by taking shorter showers, washing only full loads of clothes and turning off faucets while shaving and brushing teeth. Each household could save hundreds of gallons a month by following those measures, he said.

Hotline: For more details about restrictions or to report violators, call the city's water hotline at 326-2450.

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