As the state starts a ban on outdoor burning, Columbia County's water conservation plan continues to restrict outdoor watering.
First instituted in 2004 to conserve water in drought conditions, the plan regulates when Columbia County residents can water outdoors. The county, which is not currently in a drought, remains under Drought Level Response 1, said Billy Clayton, county Water Utility director.
"It is a way of life," Clayton said. "We will never, as far as I can tell, come out from under Level 1 conservation."
The plan is no longer a response to drought conditions, but a measure to conserve water.
Columbia County residents with an even-number address can water outdoors on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
"You can water any time during the day," Clayton said -- except on Monday, when no outdoor water use is allowed.
Those watering illegally will be given a written warning on the first offense. A second offense brings a $100 fine, and $200 is the fine for a third offense. Subsequent violations will cause the water service to be disconnected.
"We will be enforcing it," Clayton said, adding that violations have decreased in the years since the plan was instituted. "The majority of people have become accustomed to it."
Special 30-day watering permits are issued for residents with new sod.
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