[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Buchanan County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[In regard to statutory references, unless the County specifically amends the statutory provisions to the contrary or repeals the statutory provisions, future amendments to said statute shall take effect as provided by law.]
During the continued existence of climatic, hydrological and other extraordinary conditions the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Buchanan County may require that certain uses of water, not essential to public health, safety and welfare, be reduced, restricted or curtailed. As the shortage of raw or potable water becomes increasingly more critical, conservation measures to reduce consumption or curtail nonessential water use may be necessary. The definitions, water emergency criteria, and water use restrictions referenced in this article are presented in greater detail in the Southwest Virginia Regional Water Supply Plan, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Editor's Note: Said plan is on file in the County offices.
The County Administrator or his/her designee is authorized to declare a water emergency in the county restricting the use of water in any area of the county. All water stages are built upon and require compliance with previous water stages. For example, when a drought emergency is declared all provisions of a drought warning are in effect. Also the County Administrator or his/her designee may declare any of the three stages; they do not have to be declared sequentially.
Upon the declaration of a water emergency, the County Administrator or his/her designee shall immediately post a written notice of the emergency at the front door of the Court House and shall place a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which such emergency has been declared.
Upon the declaration of a water shortage or emergency, the County Administrator or his/her designee is authorized and directed to implement conservation measures by ordering the restricted use or absolute curtailment of the use of water for certain nonessential purposes for the duration of the water shortage or emergency in the manner hereinafter set out. In exercising this discretionary authority, and making the determinations set forth hereof, the County Administrator or his/her designee shall give due consideration to stream flow conditions, water levels, available/usable storage on hand, draw down rates and the projected supply capability in the county; system purification and pumping capacity; daily water consumption and consumption projections of the system's customers; prevailing and forecast weather conditions; fire service requirements; pipeline conditions including breakages, stoppages and leaks; supplementary source data; estimates of minimum essential supplies to preserve public health and safety and such other data pertinent to the past, current and projected water demands.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to any governmental activity, institution, business or industry which shall be declared by the County Administrator or his/her designee, upon a proper showing, to be necessary for the public health, safety and welfare or the prevention of severe economic hardship or the substantial logs of employment. Any activity, institution, business or industry aggrieved by the finding of the County Administrator or his/her designee may appeal that decision to the County Board of Supervisors.
Upon a determination by the County Administrator or his/her designee of the existence of the following conditions, the County Administrator shall take the following actions that shall apply to all water users in the county:
Drought watch. When moderate but limited supplies of water are available and a drought watch is declared in accordance with the Southwest Virginia Regional Water Supply Plan, the County Administrator or his/her designee shall, through appropriate means, call upon the general population to employ prudent restraint in water usage. Public outreach activities shall be identified to inform the general population of the potential for drought conditions to intensify and of potential water conservation activities that may be utilized.
Drought warning. The drought warning stage includes voluntary water conservation actions due to the imminent onset of a significant drought event.
Customers will be asked to reduce outdoor water use by only using water before 10:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m. and by:
Customers will be asked to reduce indoor water use by:
Identifying and repairing leaks;
Turning off the water while shaving, brushing teeth, etc;
Reducing shower time to five minutes or taking baths with less water;
Only using the clothes washer and dishwasher machines when there are full loads;
Storing water in the refrigerator instead of running it to get it cold; and
Installing water-saver devices in the home, such as low-flow toilets and shower heads.
Drought emergency. As thought conditions continue to worsen, a drought emergency may be declared by the County Administrator or his/her designee. When a drought emergency is declared, the following mandatory water restrictions are imposed:
All public water uses not required for health or safety will be prohibited;
Watering outdoor vegetation will be prohibited, except from a watering can or other container not exceeding three gallons in capacity or with recycled water. Any person regularly engaged in the sale of plants will be permitted to irrigate only in amounts necessary to prevent the loss of nursery stock;
Washing vehicles except from a bucket or other container not exceeding three gallons in capacity or with recycled water will be prohibited;
Washing driveways, sidewalks, exteriors of homes or other outdoor surfaces will be prohibited; however, any person regularly engaged in the business of washing such areas shall be permitted to use water for such purposes as long as the amount of water being used is minimized;
The operation of any ornamental fountain or similar structure using water will be prohibited;
The filling or refilling of swimming pools or wading pools will be prohibited;
Restaurants and similar establishments will be prohibited from serving water unless specifically requested by the customer; and
Fire hydrant use will only be permitted for fire protection.
Any person who violates any provision of the drought warning stage may be subject to the following civil penalties:
For the first offense, violators shall receive a written warning delivered in person or posted by a representative of the county.
For the second offense, violators shall be fined $50, the fine to be imposed on the violator's next water bill, or, in the case of violators not on the public water system, in a written notice.
For the third offense, violators shall be fined $100 for each offense, the fine to be imposed on the violator's next water bill, or, in the case of violators not on the public water system, in a written notice.
For each subsequent offense, violators will be subject to water service termination and reconnection fees.
Each violation by a person shall be counted as a separate violation by that person, irrespective of the location at which the violation occurs.
Any person who violates any provision of the drought emergency stage may be subject to the following penalties:
Residential customers who exceed the greater of 5,000 gallons of water per month of consumption or use more than their base usage for the same period in the previous 12 months will be charged two times the rate.
Residential customers who continue to use more than 5,000 gallons of water per month of consumption or use more than their base usage for the same period in the previous 12 months will be subject to water service termination and reconnection fees.
Persons who have been assessed a penalty shall have the right to challenge the assessment by providing a written notice to the County Administrator within ten (10) days of the date of the assessment of the penalty. The County Administrator or his/her designee shall determine that the penalty was properly assessed and notify the complaining person in writing of his/her determination.
The County Administrator or his/her designee may waive the penalty if he/she determines that the violation occurred due to no fault of the person.
The County Administrator or his/her designee shall notify the County Board of Supervisors when, in his/her opinion, the water emergency situation no longer exists. Upon concurrence of the County Board of Supervisors the water emergency shall be declared to have ended. When this declaration is made, the information shall be conveyed to the general public through the news media.