The heat has somewhat subsided but central Indiana has yet to receive a much-needed rain. As a result, water reserves are running low and town officials are scrambling to make sure there is sufficient water for necessities.
Brownsburg, Avon, and Pittsboro town officials have all declared water emergencies. Plainfield officials say they are monitoring the issue closely but aren’t having any problems at this time.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday declared 36 Indiana counties as “natural disaster areas,” qualifying them for federal assistance. While Hendricks did not make the list of hardest hit counties, officials are continuing to closely monitor the situation.
Brownsburg officials issued a voluntary request for water conservation in mid-June and announced on Thursday that they were issuing a mandatory restriction on the use of water for non-essential purposes, including a ban on lawn watering. The restrictions will be implemented July 16 and will apply to all Brownsburg municipal water customers.
The mandatory watering ban will be in effect until the amount of rainfall and cooler temperatures allow Brownsburg’s water towers to maintain adequate levels.
An exception will be allowed for businesses that rely on water, such as nurseries and car washes, and Brownsburg School’s in-season athletic fields. The town will also allow limited watering of flowers, vegetable gardens, trees younger than 5 years old, and recently installed sod. Customers are asked to water those only by container or hand-held hose with a shutoff nozzle.
“While we’ve seen some improvement from the voluntary conservation request, there is very little chance for significant rain in the next two weeks and our water towers are nearing levels that raise concern,” Brownsburg Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz said. “The mandatory water restrictions are necessary now to maintain proper water pressure for customers and firefighting activities.”
Brownsburg water customers should be aware that the following are prohibited under the mandatory restriction: Sprinkling, watering, or irrigating of grass; washing cars, trucks, trailers, and mobile homes except at commercial car washes; using water to clean sidewalks, driveways, paved areas, structures, buildings, or other outdoor areas; filling empty swimming pools; installing new landscaping or new lawns by using sod until return to normal conditions are declared by the town; using hydrants except for fire suppression; and operating water fountains that are non-recycling.
Residents may report violations through the town’s online Action Center at brownsburg.org by using the “General Contact Form.”
Exempt from the prohibitions noted above and nurseries, automatic commercial car washes, manual commercial car washes, golf courses, and parks.
Residents with private wells are encouraged to voluntarily observe water conservation efforts for the overall good of the community.
Brownsburg municipal code allows for a fine up to $300 for any instance violating the emergency water usage restrictions. To read the Title V, Chapter 54.08 Town Code on emergency water usage restrictions, click the Municipal Code link at the bottom of the town’s website at brownsburg.org.
Avon town officials declared a “water shortage warning,” effective Friday, after a request from Citizens Water, which supplies the town with water. The declaration requires mandatory water restrictions, including a ban on lawn watering, that applies to all residents and businesses in Avon.
Town officials said Citizens Water broke all-time single day usage records in June. It is also reported that 40 percent of the current water usage is done through lawn watering.
Avon residents are restricted from sprinkling, watering, or irrigating of grass; washing cars, trucks, trailers, mobile homes, railroad cars, or any other type of equipment, except as required by applicable local, state, or federal law for health or safety reasons; using water to clean sidewalks, driveways, paved areas, structures, buildings, or other outdoor surfaces; filling empty swimming pools; installing new landscaping or new lawns by using sod until return to normal conditions are declared by the town manager; using hydrants except for fire suppression or as otherwise directed by Citizens Energy Group; and operating water fountains that are non-recycling.
An exception to this is that vegetable gardens and flowers may be watered every other day by container or a hand-held hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle. It is also permissible to water trees once per week.
The areas exempt from the restrictions are nurseries, automatic commercial car washes, manual commercial car washes, golf courses, and property owned by the town, as long as water is recycled or managed properly. Golf courses can only water the greens and the tee boxes on an every other day schedule that begins on Monday each week and fairways may only be watered once a week on Thursdays.
Town officials will be responsible for enforcement. A first violation in a 12-month period will result in a written warning. A second violation carries no less than a $500 fine.
If the water user cannot be identified, the customer with service at the address is liable for the fines.
For more information and guidelines to manage drought conditions, visit the website at www.citizenswater.com.
The town of Pittsboro has implemented similar water conservation restrictions. Any user who violates the requirements in Pittsboro may be punished by a fine of no more than $2,500. A first violation there will result in a warning and the second and subsequent violations will result in fines.
Jason Castetter, superintendent of the Plainfield Sewer/Water Department, reported to the town council earlier this week that they are doing OK at this time.
“We’re doing good — our wells are doing good,” Castetter said. “We have not needed to ask for conservation measures so far.”
He said many residents have been conserving water without being asked, which has helped keep the issue under control.
The town is currently still able to sell water to Indianapolis.
“We are able to produce 9.5 to 10 million gallons a day,” Castetter said. “We have been using 7 to 8 million. Our peak day was 8.4 million, so we do have a buffer and feel we are in a good position right now.”