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Water restrictions go into effect June 1

5/20/2013

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

When the calendar flips to June, watering restrictions, an annual Hays rite of spring, will go into effect.

Outside watering restrictions between noon and 7 p.m. start June 1 for Hays water supply users. In addition, the state Division of Water Resources also restricts the use of private water wells during the same time.

Fines for city water violations are cumulative for a two-year period: first offense, warning; second offense, $50; third offense, $200; fourth offense, $250; and fifth offense, $300.

"The public's cooperation in conserving and making wise use of our water year-round is recognized and appreciated, most certainly this year during our drought," said Kim Rupp, city of Hays finance director.

Hays has been in a water watch, which calls for residents to voluntarily reduce water usage, since August.

Recent updates to the city's lawn watering permit limit residents' ability to plant cool-season grasses. In years past, Hays has issued 30-day permits allowing residents to water newly seeded lawns between noon and 7 p.m. from June 1 until Sept. 30. The city no longer will issue permits for cool-season yards between June 1 and Aug. 25, and will issue only 10-day permits for warm-season grasses.

Starting a cool-season lawn in the middle of summer just isn't practical, according to city of Hays Parks Director Jeff Boyle.

"Basically what happens is, you seed a cool-season yard in the heat of summer and your watering requirements are at least twice if not three times as heavy as if you had done that in spring time," Boyle said.

"Preferably try to get all your cool-season yards in prior to June 1, so you don't have to deal with the fact you cannot get a permit to water between the hours of noon and 7," Boyle said."This is a good conservation practice."

Cool season permits, allowed from Aug. 25 to Sept. 30, will cost $100. The change reflects the city's efforts to encourage more native, less water-intensive plantings, Boyle said.

Stricter water measures are in place for other towns in Ellis County. Ellis, in March, enacted Stage 3 water restrictions, which prohibit outside watering from the city water supply. Use of private wells within city limits also is prohibited.

In Victoria, now at a Stage 2 water warning level, outside watering is allowed between 5 and 10 a.m. and 7 and 10 p.m. for odd-numbered addresses on Tuesdays and Saturdays and even-numbered addresses Wednesdays and Sundays.