Minor water shortage hits South Shore
With seven wells closed due to contamination threats posed by methyl tertiary butyl ether, the local utility district will implement tougher water conservation measures.
The restrictions are necessary, officials with South Tahoe Public Utility District said, because the 20-percent reduction in capacity caused by the well closures has put too much strain on the water delivery system.
“We’re running our remaining 27 wells at maximum capacity,” said Dawn Forsythe, information officer with STPUD, “but we’ve come to the point when we really need the public’s assistance in water conservation. There’s no way we can turn those seven wells back on as long as the MTBE threat of contamination remains.”
Effective immediately, the following water restrictions will apply.
1. Lawn and landscape irrigation are permitted between 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. only, except for new lawns planted since July 27. Exceptions are granted if a hand-held hose is used, if a hand-held, faucet-filled bucket of five gallons or less is used, or if a drip irrigation system is used.
2. Water shall not be used to wash down sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, tennis courts, patios, or other paved areas, except to alleviate immediate fire or sanitation hazards.
3. All eating and drinking establishments shall serve water to their customers only when specifically requested by the customer.
4. Water users shall repair all leaks in plumbing and irrigation systems.
5. Water users shall not allow water to leave the property by draining onto adjacent properties or impervious surface.
6. Private vehicle washing shall only be allowed with a bucket and a shut-off nozzle attached to hose. Continuous discharge from hose nozzle is prohibited. Exceptions will be made to washing done at a commercial car wash or commercial service station. Other washings in which the health, safety, and welfare of the public is contingent upon frequent vehicle cleanings, such as garbage trucks and vehicles that transport food and perishables, are allowed.
7. All are encouraged to report signs of water leaks.
8. The use of water to irrigate non-landscaped, natural vegetation or undeveloped property is prohibited except in cases of severe fire danger.
The restrictions apply to all STPUD customers in the South Shore area. District ordinances allow for a written warning to be issued for first-time violators. For a second violation, according to STPUD’s administrative code, “a surcharge shall be imposed equal to 25 percent of the immediately preceding water user’s bill.” The third violation calls for a 50 percent surcharge.
Forsythe emphasized that South Tahoe is not in an emergency shortage, but that people need to conserve now to avoid any future emergencies.
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