What Happens When a Water Emergency is Declared?
Vista, CA - With at least nine urban areas of the United States now experiencing "exceptional drought" conditions, some business owners and facility managers may wonder what would happen if an actual emergency water situation materializes.
While there are no universal ground rules, according to Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., maker of no-water urinal systems, what can be expected includes the following:
The governor of the state declares a water emergency.
All voluntary water restrictions are eliminated and replaced by enforced water use restrictions.
Bans are typically imposed on the watering of lawns and landscape vegetation. Irrigation using watering cans may be allowed.
Non-commercial car washes must cease operation.
Businesses that use water for their operations, such as commercial car washes, laundries, etc., are not immediately affected, but restrictions may be imposed.
Water used for cleaning of exterior areas, such as sidewalks and walkways, and pressure cleaning must cease.
Water limits, typically based on how many people use the facility, are imposed on commercial facilities, such as offices and schools.
Water limits, typically based on how many people live in the residence, are imposed on homes and apartments.
All commercial and non-commercial facilities are urged or may even be required to replace older water using fixtures with newer, more water efficient systems.
Many facilities close their public restrooms to conserve water.
Water limits and restrictions are imposed on golf courses and plant nurseries.
State and local police departments enforce the new restrictions. Penalties, including criminal penalties of several months in jail, and fines of several hundred to several thousand dollars are imposed.*
"One good thing that often happens in a water emergency is [that] we learn not only how to conserve water, but also [to] use it far more efficiently," says Reichardt. "After the 1976-1977 water emergency in California, many lessons were learned-lessons that have helped California use water more efficiently ever since."
*As mentioned, these and other water restrictions may or may not be imposed in a water emergency.
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