Columbus Residents Are Following Water Restrictions

November 14, 2007

Earlier this week, the Columbus Water Board decided not to impose fines for people who violate the watering ban. The move seems to go against actions other cities are taking in response to the drought.

With Georgia under one of the worst droughts in history, cities across the state are cracking down on people who violate the outdoor watering ban.

But in Columbus, the Water Board has decided that fines aren't the way to go.

"The Water Board looked at the situation, and knew that most people wouldn't be watering outdoors, if you put this in place now," said Water Works President Billy Turner.

Water Works President Billy Turner also says fines aren't necessary at this point, because Columbus residents are mostly obeying the ban.

"When you have fines, it seems to me there are a lot of disincentives in that one, we would have to add staff that document people were actually watering," said Turner.

Instead, Water Works officials are turning their attention to another mandatory requirement, that comes down from the governor.

Columbus residents must reduce their water usage by 10 percent, from November through March.

"That essentially is saying that whatever you were using last winter, when our water use in the city is the lowest, you got to go ten percent below that," said Turner.

And so far, Turner says Columbus has managed to stay under that ten percent mark.

Last year, from December to March, Columbus residents used an average of 30 million gallons a month. Under the governor's requirement, Columbus must go down to 27.7 million gallons a month.

We're only 14 days into the month, but so far, Columbus has stayed below that ten percent reduction line. If water usage goes up, then the Water Board may go back and look at fines.