Water police crack down

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If you find a pink slip taped to your front door, you better pay attention.

About 700 Columbia County water customers have been cited in recent weeks for violating water restrictions.

"There shouldn't be as many as we're catching," Waterworks Director Bill Clayton said. "It's getting to the point now that it's hard to understand."

As Georgia enters the fourth year of state-mandated watering restrictions, most residents should be aware of the rules, he said.

But violators are everywhere.

"We just ride around, evenings, nights, all the time," Mr. Clayton said. "We get a lot of them in the early, early mornings, too."

So far, the fluorescent warning tickets are helping. Soon, the most blatant repeat offenders might get their next notice -- a $100 fine -- inside their monthly water bill.

"We haven't gotten to that point yet, but it may be coming," Mr. Clayton said.

Columbia County's water department serves about 38,000 households and businesses, which means the 700 warnings make up less than 2 percent.

"You get one strike," Mr. Clayton said. "After that, we have to assume that you know."

Augusta officials also are watching for violators.

The city's 185,000 water customers use about 40 million gallons each day, with late-summer consumption peaking near 60 million gallons a day.

Drew Goins, the assistant director for water production, has said usage is already 10 percent to 15 percent above normal for this time of year.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

WHEN TO WATER


In Columbia and Richmond counties, which are under Level Two restrictions, watering is allowed from midnight to 10 a.m. based on street address. No watering is allowed on Mondays.


ODD-NUMBERED ADDRESSES: Water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.


EVEN-NUMBERED ADDRESSES: Water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.


There are no water restrictions in South Carolina's Aiken, Edgefield, Barnwell and McCormick counties.

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hands grimey
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hands grimey 06/18/08 - 09:20 am
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I wonder if they are taking

I wonder if they are taking this as seriously in Richmond County because I have a neighbor who waters around 10:00 at night and at about 8:00 in the morning almost every day he is doing one or the other. The worst part about it is he lets it run for over an hour and his grass still looks like crap because when he mows he scalps the yard. What a waste. Can we get some figures about how Richmond County is cracking down or are they even keeping a watch out.

mentalrxtech
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mentalrxtech 06/18/08 - 09:34 am
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People are not understanding

People are not understanding that there is going to be a day where you will have to choose....do you want water to clean yourself and to cook or do you want to water your grass?

dale88fan
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dale88fan 06/18/08 - 09:58 am
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D@m if the government

D@m if the government building and newly landsscaped medians around the county dont look good -- i will stop watering when those dont get watered -- i pay for my water and my landscaping and plan on maintaining it .... $100 dollars isnt nothing compared to replacement cost !! Thank goodness for the soaker hoses at Sams!!

Bizarro
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Bizarro 06/18/08 - 10:12 am
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My neighbors start watering

My neighbors start watering their lawns in the Spring before their grass is out of its dormancy. This will encourage shallow roots which will have a difficult time in the Summer heat. These water addicted lawns now look burned up no matter how much they water (which just exacerbates the problem) they pour on. I water once a week in the Spring or not at all as this Spring. I start watering in early July. People also water in the daylight hours which the grass will either transpire the water out or the heat evaporate the water. Water after 3 am and before sunrise. If you water before midnight you may encourage fungi. Also soak the ground well-with the clay soils we have here they are a great water reservoir. My lawn is gorgeous green with few dry spots. My neighbors yards look like they have been burned. Use a drip system to water your shrubs and conserve water. My concern is that my lawn looks so good that the county will think I'm abusing the system. How ironic if I get warned and all my water hog neighbors walk.

areyoukiddinme
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areyoukiddinme 06/18/08 - 10:16 am
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how much gas is being wasted

how much gas is being wasted by these employees just riding around all the time playing water cop?

dale88fan
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dale88fan 06/18/08 - 10:17 am
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You are so right Bizarro ===

You are so right Bizarro === its not the amount of water its all in maintaining. Its just ironic how the county doesnt follow the rules it sets ---Backing down on the amount of fertilizer can also help so you dont burn up your yard and shrubs!

BakersfieldCityLimits
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BakersfieldCityLimits 06/18/08 - 10:20 am
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I wonder if the sprinklers

I wonder if the sprinklers that cover the Broad st. and go every night from 0400-0600 and the ones at 12th and Greene will be programmed to comply, or is that just for the citizens. Your government is here to help you.

Also, you all need to stop monitoring your neighborhors lawns, this is not North Korea, you won't get an extra bowl of rice for turning someone in.

shivas
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shivas 06/18/08 - 10:44 am
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I think we should throw them

I think we should throw them in jail with the graduation yellers.

GetItRight2
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GetItRight2 06/18/08 - 10:52 am
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The 'water police' should

The 'water police' should check out the upgraded WalMart on Bobby Jones. They water the area at the left side of their building with a big old hose, with sprinklers all the way down, but it just runs off at one end going nowhere but into the road, and therefore wasting gallons of water. Are big businesses exempt from these policies?

hopeful
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hopeful 06/18/08 - 10:55 am
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Of course they are not

Of course they are not worried about the gas it is costing to ride around and watch us, look at your water bill. I haven't watered in 7 weeks and was gone for two of those seven weeks and my water bill went up 23.00. Imagine that. As far as the watering, yes they make the rules, but it depends upon who you are if you have to follow them.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 06/18/08 - 11:07 am
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The answer is artificial

The answer is artificial turf, shrubs, and flowers. hee,hee,hee.

nightsrider
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nightsrider 06/18/08 - 11:20 am
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Shivas, that is the smartest

Shivas, that is the smartest post you have made in your life, DA!

hands grimey
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hands grimey 06/18/08 - 11:20 am
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I'm just going to put a sign

I'm just going to put a sign up that says I water with well water that way I won't get in any trouble!

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 06/18/08 - 11:29 am
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Conserve water, use a drip

Conserve water, use a drip system! It is 90% effective, and keeps your flowers and bushes alive while reducing water usage!

to tell the truth1
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to tell the truth1 06/18/08 - 11:31 am
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Bizarro, from reading your

Bizarro, from reading your post, you may possibly be a violator yourself and as far as someone wanting to turn somebody in, just stay out of it,, they have water patrol (polices) days, evening and even nights as stated let them do the job.

jack
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jack 06/18/08 - 11:36 am
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Wonder when the RC ater cops

Wonder when the RC ater cops are going to tell the National Gold Course to quit using city fire hydrants to water the sod they have laid in the areas of west augusta they have recently bought. They are using thousands of gallons a day and I wonder how the city is charging them for it (or if they are).

anbsh8
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anbsh8 06/18/08 - 11:42 am
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Obviously, the Water Police

Obviously, the Water Police are not policing all people and businesses in Columbia County. I have driver by the Government complex and seen the sprinklers running at 11am and 3pm almost everyday. Also, they need to police the Columbia County Sheriffs deputies because I have seen that many of them (at least six houses with police cars sitting out front) are watering during the hottest part of the day. If you are going to police the citizens of Columbia County then it needs to BE ALL CITIZENS AND THE GOVERNMENT COMPLEX!! If my lawn has to suffer then all lawns should!!

nightsrider
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nightsrider 06/18/08 - 11:45 am
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Does this restriction apply

Does this restriction apply if you have your own well?

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 06/18/08 - 11:48 am
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I would agree with you

I would agree with you anbsh8, but it's the government that gives out those restrictions and thinks it don't apply to themselves! If everyone in this city would conserve water and use a drip system on their plants, the city would probably get mad cause the utilities department would not get as much revenue from it!

bone
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bone 06/18/08 - 11:59 am
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to tell the truth, did you

to tell the truth, did you even understand bizarro's post? if so, you couldn't possibly have deduced that he is abusing the watering restrictions; likely, you would have concluded that he is trying to give helpful advice to people that may not know how to properly take care of a lawn with limited water.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 06/18/08 - 12:23 pm
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Thanks Bone. It was a poorly

Thanks Bone. It was a poorly written and constructed paragraph, but I figured most would get the drift. Perhaps a rewrite, but then again why bother. I don't rat on my neighbors-just look in disgust. I do that in many aspects of life-even some of my own choices.

1beachbum
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1beachbum 06/18/08 - 12:28 pm
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How do you make a "drip"

How do you make a "drip" system?

mylittlepony
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mylittlepony 06/18/08 - 12:28 pm
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I live in NW Georgia where we

I live in NW Georgia where we have been under these restrictions for 2 years now. In our area, you can water new plantings for a couple of weeks and food gardens are exempted from the outside watering ban.

Also, if you have a well, do put up a sign and you won't be hassled. I know that places like Westover cemetery water with untreated water from the river so maybe the gov't buildings do the same.

whyme
1866
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whyme 06/18/08 - 12:37 pm
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I tried reporting my

I tried reporting my neighbors who were watering their backyards at night-this was last year-and was told that there was noone to handle it and I should call back during the day! This happened on several occasions. I was also told by the water office on more than one occasion that you can water with a garden hose at any time as long as it was not a soaker hose and you only watered your flowers and small garden. Needless to say, guess who got a pink slip? Me! I even told the water patrol that I was proud to be following their office's direction but they still gave me a warning. Now my little garden, with already dying vegetables, is going to be dead for sure. I have never watered my yard because I was following the rules. Go figure.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 06/18/08 - 12:53 pm
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It is not difficult to

It is not difficult to convert part of your sprinkler system to a drip or you can attach the sytem to an outside faucet. Rainbird.com has all the info you need to create your own system-I did it and I'm an idiot in that regard. I converted two zones that were once sprinkler to drip and made beds to have less grass to mow. I plan on doing more as I make more beds.

1beachbum
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1beachbum 06/18/08 - 01:31 pm
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Bizzaro- thanks for the info.

Bizzaro- thanks for the info. I live in SC, but any chance to conserve is fine by me!

dale88fan
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dale88fan 06/18/08 - 01:42 pm
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I think they even put

I think they even put restrictions on well watering - something about the water table being low -- you may want to check this out ! just water until you get caught then change your watering habits -- I am not going to let my landscape burn up ==

DMac_357
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DMac_357 06/18/08 - 02:10 pm
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My neighbors water their

My neighbors water their yards so much, I have to go and check to make sure I'm watering on the right day. I'm not worried about what everyone else is doing, as long as I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. The water police will catch them since that's what they are being paid to do. I'm not wasting my time calling and telling on people.

melmel
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melmel 06/18/08 - 02:15 pm
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Hi all! I have been planting

Hi all!
I have been planting since early Spring! And I feel the same way allot of you do about burning everything I worked my butt of on! My nice neighbor did tell me that they are patrolling the neighborhood, so yes they are too in S.Augusta.
My mom's garden was lookin REALLY GOOD! As of yesterday, OH MY!
So I will not stop watering! Until the government quits!

toldya
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toldya 06/18/08 - 02:29 pm
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Shivas- you are hysterical!

Shivas- you are hysterical! They can't place water restrictions on someone who owns their own well, at least they couldn't in FL.

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