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Article I – Water Shortages or Emergencies

[Adopted 2-17-2009 (Ch. 68 of the 1993 Code)]

§ 5.1-1 Authority to declare water shortage or emergency.

A. During the continued existence of climatic, hydrological and other extraordinary conditions, the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Appomattox County may require that certain uses of water, not essential to public health, safety and welfare, be reduced, restricted or curtailed. As the shortage of raw or potable water becomes increasingly more critical, conservation measures to reduce consumption or curtail nonessential water use may be necessary.

B. The County Administrator is authorized to declare a water shortage or emergency in the County restricting the use of water in any area of the County. All drought response stages are built upon and require compliance with previous stages. For example, when a water shortage or emergency is declared, all provisions of a drought warning are in effect. Also the County Administrator may declare any of the three stages. They do not have to be declared sequentially.

§ 5.1-2 Publication of declaration.

Upon the declaration of a water shortage or emergency, the County Administrator shall immediately post a written notice of the drought at the front door of the County Administration Building and shall place a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which such drought has been declared.

§ 5.1-3 Water use considerations.

Upon the declaration of a water shortage or emergency, the County Administrator is authorized and directed to implement conservation measures by ordering the restricted use or absolute curtailment of the use of water for certain nonessential purposes for the duration of the water shortage or emergency in the manner hereinafter set out. In exercising this discretionary authority, and making the determinations set forth herein, the County Administrator shall give due consideration to the following elements: precipitation levels, river flows, and groundwater levels; daily water consumption and consumption projections of residents; prevailing and forecast weather conditions; supplementary source data; estimates of minimum essential supplies to preserve public health and safety; and such other data pertinent to the past, current and projected water demands.

§ 5.1-4 Exceptions.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to any governmental activity, institution, business or industry which shall be declared by the County Administrator, upon a proper showing, to be necessary for the public health, safety and welfare or the prevention of severe economic hardship or the substantial loss of employment. Any activity, institution, business or industry aggrieved by the finding of the County Administrator may appeal that decision to the County Board of Supervisors.

§ 5.1-5 Water conservation measures.

Upon a determination by the County Administrator of the existence of the following conditions, the County Administrator shall take the following actions that shall apply to any person whose water supply is furnished by a locality, authority or company distributing water for a fee or charge:

A. Drought watch. When a drought watch is declared in accordance with the Drought Response and Contingency Plan, the County Administrator shall, through appropriate means, call upon the general population to employ prudent restraint in water usage and to conserve water voluntarily by whatever methods available.

B. Drought warning. When a drought warning is declared in accordance with the Drought Response and Contingency Plan, the County Administrator shall order curtailment of less essential usages of water, including but not limited to one or more of the following:

(1) The watering of shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, or any other vegetation, except indoor plantings and greenhouse or nursery stocks and except limited watering for new lawns and watering by commercial nurseries of freshly planted plants upon planting and once a week for five weeks following planting. Athletic fields are also exempt but shall only be watered to match the evaporation-transpiration rate. In all cases where the above exceptions apply, the watering is not to occur between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Watering with buckets that have a capacity of five or fewer gallons is permitted at any time.

(2) The washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, buses, airplanes, or any other type of mobile equipment, except in facilities operating with a water recycling system. The facility shall post a notice in public view that a recycling system is in operation. Exceptions are for vactor trucks, refuse trucks, septage haulers and buses. Other exceptions must be approved by the County Administrator or a designee and be demonstrated to be necessary for health and safety purposes.

(3) The washing of sidewalks, streets, driveways, parking lots, service station aprons, office buildings, exteriors of homes or apartments, or other outdoor surfaces, unless the use is approved by the County Administrator for health and safety.

(4) The operation of any ornamental fountain or other structure making a similar use of water.

(5) Restaurants may serve water to customers only upon request.

C. Drought emergency. When a water shortage or emergency is declared in accordance with the Drought Response and Contingency Plan, the County Administrator shall restrict the use of water to purposes which are absolutely essential to life, health and safety.

§ 5.1-6 Violations and penalties.

A. Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be subject to the following civil penalties:

(1) For the first offense, violators shall receive a written warning delivered in person or posted by a representative of the County.

(2) For the second offense, violators shall be fined $50, the fine to be imposed in a written notice.

(3) For the third and each subsequent offense, violators shall be fined $100 for each offense, the fine to be imposed in a written notice.

B. Each violation by a person shall be counted as a separate violation by that person, irrespective of the location at which the violation occurs.

C. Persons who have been assessed a penalty shall have the right to challenge the assessment by providing a written notice to the County Administrator within 10 days of the date of the assessment of the penalty. The County Administrator or designee shall determine whether the penalty was properly assessed and notify the complaining person in writing of the determination.

D. The County Administrator or designee may waive the penalty if he determines that the violation occurred due to no fault of the person.

§ 5.1-7 Notification of end of water emergency.

The County Administrator shall notify the Board of Supervisors when the water emergency situation no longer exists. Upon concurrence of the Board of Supervisors, the water emergency shall be declared to have ended. When this declaration is made, the information shall be conveyed to the general public through the news media.


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