No change -- this week -- in local watering ban

Rock Hill leaders have postponed a discussion on easing water restrictions until Monday's City Council meeting, city spokeswoman Lyn Garris said Thursday.

Officials were expected to consider changing the restrictions Thursday morning at a council workshop. But Garris said the delay was necessary because the entire council couldn't attend Thursday's meeting.

"I think they all want to be in on that discussion," she said.

City officials are mulling a decision on loosening the watering ban, in place since last fall, after a month of above-average rainfall. The rain and widespread conservation efforts brought Lake Wylie, the city's main water source, above its target level. Now, if the lake keeps rising, some water will be released from the dam into the Catawba River, city utilities director Jimmy Bagley said last week.

Officials are considering whether to allow residents to water with irrigation systems one day a week. Only hand-watering has been allowed for months. Bagley said the council put the ban in place, and it will have to vote to remove it.

Some water officials are worried, however, that relaxing rules will send the wrong message. Bagley said most drought indicators still show a Stage 3 drought in York County and conservation efforts should not be terminated. He said if rainfall decreases, a watering ban could return quickly.

Clover, Charlotte, Gastonia, N.C., and Monroe, N.C., have recently allowed once-a-week watering.