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Waynesboro, Pa., Borough Authority OKs water rationing plan

February 26, 2002|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Waynesboro residents, businesses and institutions would face water rationing should it become necessary to put into effect a plan approved Monday by the Waynesboro Borough Authority.

The plan must be approved by drought emergency coordinators for the county and state before the authority can implement it.

Whether the plan is implemented will depend on how much longer the area goes without rain and the water level in the borough's reservoir, officials said.

As of Monday the water level had dropped to a record low of 14 feet, 9 1/2 inches below the spillway, said S. Leiter Pryor, director of borough utilities.

If the rationing plan goes into effect, it would limit a single-person household to 55 gallons per day. The limit would be 40 gallons per day per person in multiple-person households.

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Landlords and building owners would be responsible for their tenants' water consumption.

A first offense for water use in excess of 1,000 gallons a month over the rationing limit would carry a fine of $18.46 and an official written warning. Each subsequent instance would result in a fine of $27.69.

Under the plan, the authority can cut off a user's water for up to 48 hours for repeated offenses.

Enforcing rationing would be a nightmare, officials said. More than 7,000 metered customers are served by the borough water system. Each one would have to be checked once a month.

"We'll be pulling in employees from every department in the borough to help," Pryor said.

Money from fines would go into a special fund for drought-related expenses.

Authority Chairman Jon Fleagle said the plan would ban a number of nonessential water uses.

It would prohibit washing vehicles, watering lawns, gardens and golf courses, washing streets and sidewalks, giving water to restaurant customers unless they request it and testing of hydrants by fire departments.

Commercial, industrial, institutional and public facilities would have to cut consumption by 25 percent under the rationing plan.

Customers could ask for exemptions on a case-by-case basis, Fleagle said.

Pryor said the borough is using 1.25 million gallons of water day, and he wants to cut use to 1 million gallons a day.

A state-ordered drought-emergency plan already in effect in 23 Pennsylvania counties, including Franklin and Fulton, calls for a 10 percent voluntary reduction.

Pryor said last week the emergency plan was having some effect. The amount of water leaving the reservoir each day is down by about 150,000 gallons, indicating that residents are taking the drought seriously, he said.

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