Chesterfield starts emergency water restrictions, levying fines

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - With emergency restrictions now in place, Chesterfield County is cracking down on people who refuse to cut back on water.

But with more than 100,000 water customers, the county continues to answer questions about the new rules.

A concern for one person: filling a baptismal pool, that happens to be his swimming pool. Another woman was worried about her fish. Under the emergency restrictions she didn't know if she could fill her koi pond.

The county said yes to both requests. Their message is that if the rules are unclear, call them first.

As the Johnson's round the corner of their Salisbury neighborhood, they know with no watering, the view is about to change.

"No, no we don't care about the grass," said Judy Johnson,  "It will rain eventually.  I figured the [State Fair] is here so we should be getting some rain."

The pair isn't worried about the emergency restrictions.  They're more concerned with Lake Chesdin.

"Like the reservoir at Chesdin, it's way down," Danny Johnson said. "It looks like it's gone way too low.  And you think that they would have enacted it a little sooner."

The strict rules will stay put until levels at Lake Chesdin are restored. Chesterfield will ticket anyone who violates the rules.

Since the start of water restrictions, the utilities department as issued more than 140 violations.  The fines are tacked on to your water bill.  And while county employees are patrolling neighborhoods for violators, the purpose is compliance.  You see every violation has the rules on the back.

"We have over 100,000 customers in the county and we just want to get the word out to them that the emergency restrictions are in place," said Jeff Franklin with Chesterfield County Public Utilities.

Franklin wants people to call if they see a rule-breaker or are confused about water usage. Judy and Danny don't plan on picking up the phone.

"I don't feel like it's really my place to police it. I didn't make the law," she said.

But they hope they can make changes to their landscape soon.

"When we do get rain I will try to seed again," Danny said.

If you are ticketed, the initial fine is $200 and doubles after that. One person has already been ticketed twice. If you want more information about Chesterfield's water restrictions or to report someone call 748-1271.

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