Local News

Siler City Imposes Stiff Water Fines

Posted September 11, 2007 12:03 a.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2007 1:19 a.m. EDT

— If you get caught watering outdoors in Siler City, it could cost you. Town officials implemented new water restrictions on Monday. Everyone was asked to reduce water consumption by 20 percent.

First-time offenders could be charged with a misdemeanor that carries up to a $500 fine. A second offense would bring a civil injunction, and subsequent violations would lead to water service being shut off.

"It will probably cost a little more, but in the long run it will be worth it because we've got to conserve water," said restaurant owner Lee Coblen.

The restrictions ban all watering of lawns and outdoor vegetation, washing cars, power-washing driveways and sidewalks, and filling pools and fountains.

Banning outdoor watering happens more often than not in Siler City. It is so common, all eight operational car washes have back up wells.

The town's Rocky River Reservoir is down 9 feet. The water restrictions kick in automatically if the levels get that low.

"I think it's telling our citizens that we are serious," said Siler City manager Joel Brower. "We are reading their meters every Monday and we are making sure that they [businesses] reduce."

Some businesses are trucking in water to help supplement their needs.

The town manager hopes the restrictions will stretch a 90-day water supply another 30 to 40 days.

"You just tighten the belt and deal with it," said resident Bud Stovall.

The town also hopes to start expanding its reservoir in October.

With the dry conditioners affecting so many areas, state agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler is expected to make an announcement Tuesday concerning hay funding.

Because of the drought, farmers across the state face an estimated hay shortfall of up to 800,000 round bales. Gov. Mike Easley has asked for federal disaster aid for 85 counties.