Pauls Valley Democrat
Watering lawns is out, filling swimming pools is out, just about any outside activities involving water are for now not allowed in Pauls Valley.
With water levels way down in both local lakes thanks to a historically dry period with a drought now entering its third year, PV officials have put in place some major water restrictions for residents here.
Ironically it was a prayer of thanks for this week’s rainfall that opened up a Tuesday night meeting as all five city council members gave the OK after getting a full rundown of the mandatory restrictions from City Manager James Frizell.
“All outside watering is effectively banned,” Frizell said.
“This is strictly residential watering with offenders subject to fines, and if somebody ignores it they could have their water shut off,” he said. “We will do whatever is necessary to make people comply.
“This is the first time we’ve had to go to mandatory water rationing. We’ve done the odd-even voluntary rationing in the past.”
The mandatory water restrictions are in effect immediately, although Frizell stresses some time will be needed to get the word out to residents.
One restriction is outside watering of yards and gardens is strictly prohibited.
A question about a new community garden was easily resolved when Frizell said a private water well will allow for that project to move forward.
Also not allowed is the washing of vehicles, sidewalks or structures.
For now the measure does not include public car washes. Frizell added that could be revisited later if the drought worsens.
Another restriction is the filling of residential swimming pools will be strictly prohibited.
That will only be allowed if some sort of “extenuating” circumstances result in an approval from the city.
This part of the measure could potentially mean the opening for Pauls Valley’s outdoor aquatic center now under construction could be delayed.
“We may not be able to open our water park,” Frizell said, adding the facility will be completed at the site next to the Reynolds Recreation Center.
He added the aquatic center once completed will hold around 220,000 gallons of water.
Council members have also approved the punishment for any violators of the water restrictions now in place.
First time offenders will be given a warning. The second time will include a $250 fine with that total doubling after the third offense.
Anyone with a fourth offense could be subject to having their water service turned off by the city.
All of the restrictions will remain in place until conditions exist that allow the city to rescind the measure, which is being enforced by local police.
“Anyone who gets a warning can be told that fines are coming after that,” said Vice Mayor Billy Riddle.
Frizell told the council he expects most residents in the community to pitch in and comply with the rationing.
“Our customers have been obliging and very cooperative in the past,” he said.
“I don’t see any reason why that won’t be the case now.”
Rural water districts purchasing water from Pauls Valley will also be asked to have their customers comply with these same restrictions.
The enforcement of the measure is expected to be lenient at first as more information will be included in water bill statements going out to residents later this month.
“If you’ve been out at our lakes you’ve seen it’s going to take a lot of water to fill them up,” Frizell added in a reference to the severity of the drought.