Mandatory water restrictions in place

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Mandatory water restrictions need to be implemented. That's the word today as a major water source faces a critical stage.

Lake Chesdin is at its lowest level in its history. That will affect thousands of people in Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Prince George.

Things are getting really bad out on Lake Chesdin. You can see the water level getting lower and lower and lower on the sand. That's why these mandatory restrictions are now in place.

Randy Westfall is definitely seeing the effects of this hot and dry summer.

"I got a little lake here behind my house and its low. I can imagine overall that the water is low too," he said.

The water level is 85 inches below the maximum. In fact, the water level along the lake has dropped five inches in the past two days. So in comes the mandatory restrictions.

"This is beyond not being able to put your boat into the lake. It's having enough water to drink and water to meet your needs," said Chris Dawson who makes the mandatory restriction decision.

The restrictions are or soon will be enforced in all the areas mentioned above. Right now, many areas are deciding on what restrictions to put in place.

"We want you to follow those instructions. If they tell you to water on odd-even days, then do it on odd and even days. You'll find out your grass will survive just as well as it does watering everyday possibly even better," said Dawson.

It all could mean Randy's grass could die and more than a year of work wasted. "If it dies, that's money down the drain and we'll have to start over again."

You think it looks bad right now with the dry shore line, get a load of this. We're told the water level here could actually drop another 48 inches lower than it is, today.

That has Dawson and his team concerned. Even more reason to follow the restrictions, not to mention there are some big penalties if you don't.

"For most localities it starts at $100 and doubles for every offense after that. For some localities its capped at $400. Others it's $800. In Chesterfield it could get as high was $1,600," added Dawson.

Steep fines that Randy won't be a part of. "I much rather be able to take a bath than water the lawn." And leaders here hope you'll follow that example.

Because the restrictions were just announced today, county and city leaders must now work out when the restrictions will be enforced in each locality.

A Chesterfield County spokesman tells us when a decision is made, they will likely follow their usual pattern of odd-even days.

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