Fort Mill Times

Tega Cay not ready to relax water use restrictions

Water usage restrictions will not be changing in Tega Cay - at least for another two weeks - despite changes enacted by Rock Hill and Fort Mill.

At a special meeting held Wednesday, Oct. 1, city council members discussed following Rock Hill's lead, but tabled the issue because they couldn't decide if the ordinance governing the restrictions allows enough wiggle room to change them without changing the ordinance. The council plans to reopen discussion on the restrictions at its next regular meeting Monday, Oct. 20.

Planning Director Tom Goebel asked the council to amend the restrictions from the current one day a week watering schedule to a twice a week schedule, in line with Rock Hill and Fort Mill.

"Yesterday, Rock Hill voted to reduce their water restrictions from Stage 3 to a modified Stage 2," Goebel said.

The city's drought restriction ordinance states the city will declare a specific stage of drought when one of three triggers is hit. Those triggers are based on the water level in Lake Wylie, the current water supply and the restrictions being imposed by Rock Hill and Fort Mill, he said. Rock Hill made its decision based on the lake level and a hope that an additional day of watering during the fall planting season would help establish newly planted trees and shrubs.

However, Mayor Bob Runde, who opposed allowing once a week watering last spring, again voiced objections to allowing more water usage during a persistent, severe drought. He also said he didn't believe the city could go to a modified Stage 2 drought without changing the ordinance, which would require two council votes.

Runde cited a section of the ordinance that states it will remain in effect until the water shortage is officially declared to be over. He said as far as he's aware, the shortage is ongoing.

Because the issue was tabled, the current watering restrictions will not change.

City residents with odd number addresses may water their lawns between 9 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday, and residents with even number addresses may water their lawns between 9 p.m. Saturday and 5 a.m. Sunday.