Polk approves water shortage plan for new department

Published 1:38 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Polk County now has a water shortage plan for its newly formed Polk County Water Department (South).

Commissioners approved a water shortage plan for the water department last week. The county was required to approve a plan for its Broad River Water Authority (BRWA) based source.

The plan includes conditions or events that will trigger the county to implement measures and fines for customers not in compliance with the plan.

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The plan defines conditions and actions for drought stages I through IV, depending on drought conditions and reductions in the flow of the Broad River basin.

Stage I water shortage actions defined in the plan are voluntary restrictions, including limiting car washing, lawn and garden watering, avoiding washing down outside areas, not leaving faucets running while shaving, brushing teeth, showering or washing dishes, watering shrubbery to a minimum, limiting clothes washing, showers, toilet flushing, water cooled air conditioning and new landscape work as well as using disposable and biodegradable dishes.

When water shortage conditions reach Stage II, mandatory restrictions are put into place: no watering lawns, etc.; no filling swimming pools; no washing vehicles or outside areas; no use of fire hydrants other than for emergencies, no operating fountains; no serving water in food establishments unless specifically requested and no operating water cooled air conditioners.

In Stage III, all of stage II restrictions are in place as well as additional ones that prohibit adding water to any pool and using water outside any structure for any use other than an emergency involving a fire.

BRWA will be considered to be in stage IV, crisis water shortage condition, when a reduction in the flow of the Broad River at the raw water intake is 15 million gallons per day (MGD) for a period of seven consecutive days. According to the water shortage plan, 15 MGD is the flow needed such that 20 percent of the flow could yield 3 MGD for BRWAs use, or the authority is unable to meet minimum pressure requirements in the water distribution system. The BRWA board will declare the stage IV reductions prior to the seventh day of the condition above if it is determined to be necessary, according to the plan.

Provisions of the plan will be enforced by Polk County personnel and local law enforcement.

No fines are imposed for failure to observe voluntary restrictions. Those failing to observe Stages II and III prohibitions will be given a warning for the first offense, a $250 fine for the second offense and discontinuation of water service for the third offense.

Residents violating emergency reductions will be given a $250 fine for the first offense and discontinuation of service for the second offense. Water rationing measures include a $500 fine for the first offense and discontinuation of service for the second offense.

Polk County owns three water sources, the Broad River source, distributed by the Inman Campobello Water District (ICWD), the recreation complex in Mill Spring, which includes wells and serves the county middle school, and the well system that serves the Polk Central Elementary School.

Polk County approved an agreement with BRWA and ICWD a couple of years ago for BRWA to run a line through Polk County to ICWD in South Carolina. The county owns the line and is able to run extensions off the line to Polk County customers.