Pools and car washes subject to water restrictions - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Pools and car washes subject to water restrictions

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – As the temperatures rise, more people are working on their lawns.

But it seems watering restrictions are constantly changing.

It's hard to keep up, but that might change next year. A new state water conservation law includes easier to understand watering rules.

When people think about outdoor watering restrictions, the first thing that comes to mind is usually yard work. But people need to remember that other water activities like car washes and pool maintenance are subject to hefty fines if you don't follow the rules.

After all the rain Albany received this winter, a drought is the last thing on people's minds.

"Until a number of years ago, maybe 10 years ago, we never ever had water restrictions in the state of Georgia," says Lorie Farkas of Albany Water, Gas & Light.

But then Georgia experienced a 5 year drought that forced communities to begin preserving water supplies.

"I think that 5 year drought proved to the state that we needed to have preventative measures as well as emergency measures."

But with restrictions changing every summer, people found it hard to keep up.

"Hopefully the new restrictions that come down in 2011 will be much more user friendly."

The new water conservation law will take affect January 1st and will ban watering from 10 am to 4 PM every day. The current system uses addresses to determine when someone may use water outside. There are a few exceptions to the rule.

"Unless you hire a professional who has a business license for Albany and then they can use it any day because that's their business," Farkas explains. "People with wells are exempt and people who have vegetable gardens. The other exemption is if you have done some landscaping at your house."

But the water restrictions extend past your lawn. People filling swimming pools and conducting car wash fundraisers must abide by the rules as well.

"I know that high school groups love to do car washes but also the different stores that are so kind to let them use the water to do a car wash have to adhere to that same even/odd system."

And in the day of cell phones, Farkas warns that it may not be your neighbor who turns you in. Most of their complaints come from people just driving through a neighborhood.

There are some stiff penalties for breaking the watering restrictions. First, you get a warning, but each time after that, violators must pay a fine upwards of $500 to reconnect their water. Lorie Farkas says no one in Albany has ever gotten past the warning stage.

Municipalities can put stricter rules in place, and during times of drought the state may order statewide watering restrictions that are more severe than what is in the new law.

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