After some debate, Columbia County's Water and Sewer Services Committee agreed Thursday night to continue the county's water conservation plan.
Columbia County Water Works Director Billy Clayton said at the committee's meeting that changing the plan during the high temperatures and lack of rain would be "an unnecessary risk at this time."
"I still see that one in a million chance that we could hit our capacity again," Mr. Clayton said, referring to two months ago when water usage reached the county's 30 million gallon cap, causing officials to upgrade the conservation plan.
The county is under phase 2 - more restrictive than phase 1. Phase 1 uses even-odd day watering and applies only to those who water with an underground system or multiple sprinklers.
Phase 2 also uses the even-odd day watering system, but it applies to all outdoor watering and restricts watering to between 5 and 9 a.m. and between 5 and 9 p.m.
Committee Chairwoman Diane Ford agreed with Mr. Clayton that the county should keep the more restrictive guidelines.
"I'm just concerned about the weather," she said. "If we go to phase 1 and it gets bad again, we'll have to go back and confuse people."
Vice Chairman Frank Spears concurred with the committee but argued that the season for water usage on lawns is nearly over and that the county's current usage is low enough for looser restrictions.
"We put the second phase in because we were critical," he said. "Now, I get all this data that says, `Well, maybe I ought to relax it a bit.'"
The county has been using an average of 15 million gallons of water a day for the past few weeks, Mr. Clayton said. Any changes to the plan will be discussed at the committee's next meeting, on the third Thursday of September.
In other business, there was a public hearing for a proposed Community Development Block Grant. If approved, the grant will supply $500,000 for new water facilities to 94 houses in the Winfield area. Letters from Winfield residents detailing water needs are requested.
Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, Ext.110, or ccchron@augustachronicle.
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