Mandatory restrictions after Rockland County declares water emergency

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Marcus Solis has the latest details.

Rockland County has declared a water emergency due to an ongoing drought, resulting in mandatory limitations on water used by all residents and businesses beginning Thursday.

The emergency declaration is the county's first since 2002 and is necessary, County Executive Ed Day said, because two requests for voluntary conservation failed.

The mandatory measures, which primarily affect outdoor water use, applies to all residents and businesses, regardless whether they get their water from a public water supplier such as Suez, Nyack or Suffern, or from their own private well.

"Unfortunately, our weather has remained unusually hot and dry, and our water use has remained relatively high," Day said. "Rainfall from March through June was 36 percent below average. We are now forced to put mandatory restrictions into place to reduce water use and preserve water to protect public health and safety."
Mandatory restrictions:

--Properties with addresses ending in an odd number are instructed to water only on Mondays and Thursdays, and those with addresses ending in an even number only on Tuesdays and Fridays, between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. for automatic, in-ground irrigation systems or between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. for manual sprinklers or hose-fed irrigation. Watering in accordance with this two-day schedule is consistent with current best practice recommendations, and will be considered fully compliant, even though strict interpretation of Article V calls for alternate-day watering.

--Water may not be used to wash non-public paved surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways, garages, parking areas and patios.

--With the exception of emergency vehicles, only commercial car washes can clean automobiles, trucks or trailers.

--Water cannot be served in restaurants unless the patron requests it.

--The use of flow-through (non-recycled) fountains, artificial waterfalls and reflecting pools is not allowed.

--Water cannot be used for flushing sewers or hydrants except for emergencies.

--All water leaks must be repaired within 48 hours.

--No bulk water supply from any source within the county may be exported outside the county.

Nursery facilities and golf courses may use a water conservation plan that is compliant with the Rockland County Sanitary Code, instead of the specified two-day watering restrictions. In addition, the Commissioner of Health will be accepting applications for variances for lawns or plantings that have been installed between the dates of June 21, 2016 and July 21, 2016. No new lawns or plantings should be installed after this date.

Residents are urged to continue to use water efficiently indoors as well. For example, use low-flow shower heads and toilets, fix any leaks, sweep rather than wash paved surfaces, run only full loads in washing machines and dish washers, don't use toilets to dispose of tissues, and consider switching to high-efficiency appliances when it's time for replacement.

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