Water limits ahead for Chester County

CHESTER -- Many Chester County residents should expect mandatory water restrictions next week, the local water district announced Thursday.

The Chester Metropolitan District, which distributes water to much of the county, issued a news release stating that the district's board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday to formally declare a Stage 2 drought, meaning residents could be fined if they don't follow the water-use guidelines.

Those rules prohibit washing cars, parking lots and outdoor structures, according to the release. Filling empty swimming pools, fountains and decorative ponds also will be off-limits.

Residents may water plants by hand, but irrigation systems and lawn sprinklers will be limited to two days per week, with odd-numbered addresses watering on Tuesdays and Saturdays and even-numbered addresses watering on Thursdays and Sundays.

The district hopes to reduce water use by 5 percent to 10 percent, the release stated.

District users include the city of Chester, Fort Lawn, Great Falls, Lando and Richburg. The district has been under voluntary water restrictions since Aug. 8.

After the board officially declares a Stage 2 drought and the decision is publicized, residents can be fined for breaking the rules, said Mike Medlin, the water district's executive director.

Residents will receive a warning first, but if they fail to comply, they can be fined $50, with subsequent violations resulting in fines of $100 and $150.

For commercial customers, those fines increase from $100 to $200 to $300. After three violations, a customer's water is cut off, Medlin said.

Rock Hill and much of York County have been under mandatory water restrictions for two weeks, and two $50 tickets were handed out Tuesday. That same day, Mecklenburg County took similar action, enforcing its first mandatory water restrictions in five years with the goal of lowering water demand by 10 percent.

Information about the Chester water district's drought response plan is available at www.cmdcsd.com.