September 26, 2008

Easing of Watering Restrictions Expected

By Matt Garfield / [email protected]

Just in time for the fall planting season, homeowners in most of York County should soon be able to water their yards twice a week.

Rock Hill and surrounding jurisdictions are poised to ease drought rules that have limited lawn watering and car washing to once a week for much of the past year.

"It allows people to take advantage of this planting season, what's left of it," said Nick Stegall, the city of Rock Hill's public services administrator. "It's just an opportunity for people to get their plants established and growing before they go dormant in the winter."

A regional drought committee gave the OK to relax watering rules this week, after reporting improved lake levels along the Catawba River. Charlotte made the change Wednesday.

The relaxed, twice-a-week watering restrictions would expire Nov. 30, when the area would return to one-day-a-week watering restrictions.

Local governments plan to act:

* Rock Hill officials are setting up a special meeting next week to allow the City Council to vote on the change. York County leaders will follow the city's lead, York Council Chairman Buddy Motz said.

* In Fort Mill, Mayor Danny Funderburk said the new policy would take effect immediately.

* No changes are imminent in Clover, which buys its water from Gastonia, N.C., said Mayor Donnie Grice.

Customers with odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Those with even-numbered addresses can water on Thursdays and Sundays. The change applies to lawn watering, car washing and pool and fountain filling.

Officials in neighboring government jurisdictions have tried to coordinate with each other to avoid confusion. "People expect us to be uniform," Funderburk said.

The change comes after Duke Energy found that one extra day of water use could help enable new plant growth without significantly affecting lake levels or stream flows.

Matt Garfield 329-4063

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