Ban on outdoor water use is being considered

June 15, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Hampstead residents may be forbidden to use water outdoors in about two weeks if water use doesn't return to normal by then, the mayor and Town Council decided last night.

Daily water use lately has been about 100,000 gallons above the average, said Councilman Wayne H. Thomas, who oversees the town water system.

The average daily water use for this time of year is about 340,000 gallons. Sunday, town residents used 426,000 gallons, he said. Use has climbed steadily since the end of May, he said.

Mr. Thomas said he doesn't think the system has a major leak. He said use probably is high because the area hasn't received much rain in the past month, and many residents are watering newly planted grass.

Mr. Thomas asked Mayor C. Clinton Becker to consider imposing a ban on outdoor water use until more rain falls and use drops. Other council members said a ban would be fair.

An outdoor water ban means residents may not water their lawns or flowers, wash their cars or let children run through sprinklers.

If use doesn't drop by June 26, Mr. Becker said he would impose a ban. Residents would be notified in water bills that are mailed June 30.

Water bills now include a notice that says "Please conserve water." That line would be changed to "Water ban in effect," he said.

Town Manager John A. Riley said residents usually use the most water in July. If the recent high levels continue, the town could have water shortages later this summer, he said.

Also last night, the council passed a budget for fiscal 1995, which begins July 1.

The $809,507 budget is 12 percent higher than last year's budget of $724,307 and includes a 3-cent decrease in the tax rate. The tax rate will be 47 cents per $100 of assessed value in fiscal 1995. Officials were able to lower the rate because the town has grown, Mr. Becker said.

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