[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Page as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Drought Management Ordinance."
The purpose of this article is to provide for the voluntary and mandatory restriction of use of Page County's public water supply systems during declared water shortages and/or water emergencies.
This article shall apply to all Page County residents and businesses which are served by the public water systems.
In order to protect the public health, safety and welfare and ensure the integrity of the County water supply, the Board of Supervisors or its designee is authorized to take special measures of prudent management to prevent a critical water shortage when a potential shortage and/or emergency condition exists in the water system(s) and to declare Drought Watch, Drought Warning or Drought Emergency conditions within the County. Drought Emergency conditions may also be declared by the County in the event of equipment failure, contamination or other non-drought related events that prevent short-term provisions of adequate water supplies. The Board of Supervisors may declare a drought stage in the absence of a declaration by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Board of Supervisors must declare a drought stage upon declaration by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Determination. Based on the determination of any one or combination of the three Towns within Page County, the Board of Supervisors or its designee may elect to declare a Drought Watch, Drought Warning, or Drought Emergency and notify the public of the corresponding voluntary or mandatory water conservation actions in the effected area.
Drought Watch. Drought Watch stage responses are intended to increase awareness in the public and private sector to climatic conditions that are likely to precede the occurrence of a significant drought event. Whenever the Board of Supervisors determines that the water supply in the County is threatened by drought conditions, the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall declare a Drought Watch. During a Drought Watch, the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall identify and institute public outreach activities to inform the population served by Page County's water system of the potential for drought conditions to intensify and identify potential water conservation activities that may be utilized.
Drought Warning. Drought Warning stage responses are required when the onset of a significant drought event is imminent. Whenever the Board of Supervisors determines that the water supply in the County is threatened by drought conditions, and where restrictions on water use are recommended to preserve an available supply of water, the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall declare a Drought Warning. Upon the declaration of a Drought Warning by the Board of Supervisors, voluntary reductions in water usage will be recommended to all residents of the County, whether individuals or businesses, with the goal of reducing water use by 5% to 10%, including, but not limited to, minimizing:
Use of water for washing or cleaning of mobile equipment, including automobiles, trucks, trailers and boats, except in licensed commercial vehicle wash facilities;
Washing paved surfaces such as streets, roads, sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking areas, tennis courts, and patios except where mandated by state or local ordinance or when performed by a licensed commercial power-washing company.
Irrigation of landscaping and lawns, including the use of outside, automatic irrigation systems, including in-ground systems, hoses, and oscillating sprinklers, for all established lawns, trees, plants, shrubs, and home gardens. Recommend the watering of outside established trees, plants, shrubs, and home gardens by manually using a non-leaking hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle, and only as necessary to preserve plant life. Newly seeded lawns and plantings installed by a licensed contractor shall have a forty-five-day establishment period from the date of installation. Sodded lawns installed by a licensed contractor shall have a twenty-day establishment period and shall use no more than 1/2 inch of water over the sodded area daily. Recommend outside automatic irrigation systems be used during the establishment period, but only between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.
Irrigation of golf courses.
Use of water for the operation of ornamental fountains, artificial waterfalls, reflecting pools, misting machines, or other structures.
Irrigation of athletic fields except as necessary to preserve plant life.
Use of water to fill and top off outdoor swimming pools except that pools may be filled to a level of two feet below normal, or water may be added to bring the level to two feet below normal, or as necessary to protect the structure from hydrostatic damage, as to pools constructed or contracted for on or before the effective date of this article.
The service of drinking water in restaurants except upon request;
The use of water from fire hydrants for any purposes other than fire suppression unless otherwise specifically approved by the County;
Drought Emergency. Drought Emergency stage responses are generally responses that are required during the height of a significant drought event. Whenever the Board of Supervisors determines that the water supply in the County is threatened by drought conditions, and where restrictions on water use are necessary to preserve an available supply of water, and where more restrictions than previously enacted on water use are necessary to preserve an available supply of water, the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall declare a Drought Emergency. Upon the declaration of a Drought Emergency by the Board of Supervisors, the above water use restrictions shall become mandatory and shall apply, whether public or private, to all residents of the County, whether individuals or businesses. In addition, the Board of Supervisors shall be allowed to enact additional water use restrictions, as the Board of Supervisors, determines is in the best interest of the County to protect the health, safety and welfare of the County's citizens. The Board of Supervisors shall also be entitled to increase the water rates in an effort to drive down water usage. All exemptions previously granted under Drought Warning Stage restrictions will be canceled. However, customers previously granted exemptions may reapply for an exemption.
Notice and duration of restrictions. The above restrictions shall become effective upon their being printed in any newspaper of general circulation in the County, or broadcast upon any radio or television station serving the County. Drought Watch Stage, Drought Warning Stage and Drought Emergency Stage restrictions shall remain in full force and effect until the Board of Supervisors determines that water supply in the County is no longer threatened by drought conditions.
The County Administrator, or his designee, shall be authorized to issue orders to effect compliance with the mandatory water conservation actions required during a declared Drought Emergency Stage. An Appeal Review Board, as described below, may, upon written application, permit an exemption for less than full compliance with any order of the County Manager issued pursuant to this article when, in its judgment, full compliance or compliance to any extent would create an unjust hardship.
The County Administrator, or his designee, may impose a penalty on any person or entity violating any provision of this article during a declared Drought Emergency. For the first offense, violators shall be assessed a penalty of $50. For the second and subsequent offenses, violators shall be assessed a penalty of $100.
An Appeal Review Board shall be established upon declaration of a Drought Emergency Stage. It shall be composed of three members appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The Appeals Review Board shall hear appeals from determinations as to allocation of water and additional charges of excessive usage and shall have the power by the vote of two members to approve, modify, or revoke such determinations. The action of the Appeals Review Board shall be final.
Upon prior written request by an individual, business, or other water user, the Board of Supervisors, or its designee, may permit less than full compliance with any drought restrictions if good cause can be shown, including evidence that the applicant is affected in a substantial manner not common to other businesses or persons generally. No waiver shall be granted by the Board of Supervisors or its designee unless the Board of Supervisors or its designee determines that the public health, safety, and welfare will not be adversely affected by the waiver. All waivers granted by the Board of Supervisors or its designee shall be reported at the Board of Supervisor's next regular or special meeting.