Drought

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 City of Charlottesville Drought Water Restrictions Lifted Banner

CURRENT DROUGHT STATUS

As of November 20th, 2017, drought warning restrictions put in place on October 11th, 2017 are no longer in effect for the City of Charlottesville. Click Here to Read Press Release.

 Thank you to our customers for conserving water during the drought warning stage and making an impact on the community's water supply by making every drop count!

Just because the drought is over, don’t forget indoor water conservation practices like shorter showers & fixing leaks are important for saving water! Remember the City of Charlottesville offers FREE Water Conservation Kits with WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucet aerators at the Office of Utility Billing in City Hall. Plus we are having a Water Saving Rebate Contest for our toilet and rain barrel rebates! See our Rebates & Incentives for details!


This is  amended from Charlottesville City Code 31-125: Click Here To Read in Full

Voluntary Drought Watch

  • Customers are asked to voluntarily conserve water when they can.  
  • Watering of established outside shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, homegardens, or any other established vegetation, shall only be conducted between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. 

Drought Warning

  • Washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, or any other type of mobile equipment, except in licensed commercial vehicle wash facilities, is prohibited. 
  • Washing of sidewalks, streets, driveways, parking lots, service station aprons, exteriors of homes or apartments, commercial or industrial buildings or any other outdoor surface, except where mandated by federal, state or local law, is prohibited.
  • The use of water from fire hydrants for any purpose other than fire suppression, unless otherwise approved by the director of public works, is prohibited. 
  • The operation of any water-cooled comfort air conditioning that does not have water conserving equipment in operation is prohibited. 
  • Watering of established outside shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, homegardens, or any other established vegetation, shall only be conducted manually by means of a non-leaking hand held hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle and using the minimum amount required to preserve plant life.
  • New plantings, commercial greenhouses or nursery stocks, newly seeded and sodded lawns, and athletic fields and courts shall only be watered by automatic irrigation systems, or manually (by the means described above), between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., using the minimum amount of water required to preserve plant life. 
  • Newly seeded lawns and new plantings are required to be installed by a licensed contractor and shall have a forty-five-day establishment period from the date of installation. Sodded lawns are required to be installed by a licensed contractor, shall have a twenty-day establishment period, and shall use no more than ½ inch of water over the sodded area daily. Automatic irrigation or manual watering, by the means described in section above, of newly installed plantings and seeded and sodded lawns shall be conducted only between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. and only as necessary to preserve plant life. Prior to installation, the customer shall provide the director of public works with a written estimate of the amount of water to be used during the establishment period, a dated licensed contractor receipt, and the irrigation method to be used. Failure to provide the required information or initiating installation prior to receipt of written approval shall be deemed a violation pursuant. Testing and servicing of outside, automatic irrigation systems may be performed during the drought warning stage only if the contract to install the system is dated prior to the council's declaration of the drought warning stage, and a copy of the contract is provided to the director of public works.
  • The operation of any ornamental fountain or other structure making a similar use of water is prohibited.
  • The serving of drinking water in restaurants, except upon request, is prohibited.
  • All commercial lodging establishments shall adopt a policy which limits the daily changing of washable linens and towels, and communicate that policy to employees and guests. At a minimum all sheets, pillowcases, towels, washcloths and bathmats shall only be changed and washed (i) upon request by an occupant; (ii) upon a change in occupancy; or (iii) once every three (3) days if used by the same occupant. As used herein, "commercial lodging establishment" shall include any establishment offering to the public for compensation lodging or sleeping accommodations, including but not limited to hotels, motels, travel lodges, tourist homes and bed and breakfast establishments. 
  • The filling or refilling of swimming or wading pools requiring more than five (5) gallons of water shall require written approval from the director of public works. Approval shall only be considered for those swimming or wading pools contracted to be installed or constructed prior to the declaration of the drought warning stage. The director of public works shall balance the need for filling the pool against the public's interest in the conservation of water to determine if approval shall be granted. As used herein, the phrase "filling or refilling" shall mean the addition of any water to the pool from the public water supply after the adoption of this amended ordinance

Drought Emergency

  • All drought restrictions add to or supersede, where appropriate, the restrictions already in place.
  • All water leaks must be repaired within three (3) business days after notification by the city. If a water leak is not repaired within three (3) business days after notification by the city, the director of finance shall terminate water service to the address where the leak is located until such time as the leak is repaired.
  • All outdoor watering is prohibited.  
  • Watering of athletic fields is prohibited.
  • All businesses, institutions and governmental entities must develop and implement a written plan, available for inspection by the city within fourteen (14) days of notice of the drought emergency stage, which will reduce the current use of water by that business or institution by twenty (20) percent, other than what is necessary for the sanitary and drinking needs of its employees and invitees. Usage will be based on the customer's average monthly use for the twelve-month period prior to the notice of the drought emergency stage. The public utilities director shall establish a monthly usage benchmark for all businesses, institutions and governmental entities without a twelve-month billing history using criteria established by the department of public works.
  • All businesses, institutions and governmental entities must place signs at each main entrance and in each restroom and shower indicating the existence of a water supply emergency and encouraging the conservation of water. 
  • The use of showers in health, fitness and athletic clubs is prohibited, except showers equipped with low flow or flow reducing equipment. 
  • The filling or refilling of swimming or wading pools of any size is prohibited. As used herein, the phrase "filling or refilling" shall mean the addition of any water to the pool from the public water supply after the adoption of this amended ordinance.
  • Exemptions granted during the drought warning stage are no longer valid. Customers may reapply for an exemption during the drought emergency stage. 

Enforcement

The above restrictions shall be enforced upon their being printed in any newspaper of general circulation in the City of Charlottesville, or broadcast upon any radio or television station serving the City of Charlottesville. 

Duration

Drought warning stage restrictions shall remain in full force and effect until city council determines that a water emergency in the City of Charlottesville no longer exists. Drought emergency stage restrictions shall remain in full force and effect until such time as the Executive Director of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority certifies in writing to the Director of Public Works of the City of Charlottesville that a drought emergency stage no longer exists. 

Appeals

The city manager shall establish an appeals procedure to review customer applications for exemptions from drought restrictions on a case by case basis and, if warranted, to make equitable adjustments to such provisions. The City Manager shall also be empowered to establish regulations governing the granting of temporary exemptions applicable to all or some of the uses of the water supply set forth in the drought restrictions. The City Manager or designee shall, in deciding applications, balance economic and other hardships to the applicant resulting from the imposition of water use restrictions or allocations against the individual and cumulative impacts to the water supply resulting from the granting of exemptions. 

Violations & Appeals

Any person who violates any provision of the drought restrictions shall be subject to the following penalties: 

  1. For the first offense, violators shall receive a written warning delivered in person or posted at the site of the violation by a representative of the City of Charlottesville Department of Public Works.
  2. For the second offense, violators shall be fined five hundred dollars ($500.00), which penalty shall be added to the violator's next city water bill;
  3. For the third offense, violators shall be fined one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), which penalty shall be added to the violator's next city water bill;
  4. For the fourth and each subsequent offense, the violator shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.
  5. Each violation by a person shall be counted as a separate violation by that person, irrespective of the location at which the violation occurs. 

In addition, the public works director is hereby authorized to terminate the water service, for the duration of the emergency, to any person convicted of such violation. Any person assessed a penalty pursuant to any penalties mentioned above shall have the right to challenge the assessment by invoking the appeals procedure established pursuant. The imposition of the penalty may be waived if it is determined that the violation occurred due to no fault of the person assessed the penalty.

 Drought Status Designation for City of Charlottesville: Please see City Code Section 31_125: Conservation during emergencies, for full listing of information.

 To submit an appeal please send a letter with information regarding water usage needs, duration, time, location, and reasoning to:

Water Conservation
ATTN: Drought Restriction Appeal
305 4th Street NW
Charlottesville, VA 22903

or Email: waterconservation@charlottesville.org


Updates on October 2017 Drought:

  • October 3rd, 2017: Voluntary Drought Watch Issues: See Press Release Here
  • October 5th, 2017: Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority Issues Drought Warning: See RWSA Press Release Here
  • October 5th, 2017: Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority Fact Sheet on Drought Warning Issues: See RWSA Fact Sheet Here
  • October 9th, 2017: Albemarle County Service Authority Declares a Water Emergency: See ACSA Press Release Here
  • October 9th, 2017: Albemarle County Service Authority Issues a Letter to their Customers: See ACSA Letter Here
  • October 9th, 2017: City of Charlottesville Issues a Drought Restriction Flyer: See Flyer Here
  • October 11th, 2017: City of Charlottesville Issues Drought Warning and mandatory drought restrictions: See Press Release Here
  •  October 24th, 2017: Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority Publishes Presentation from Board Meeting: See Presentation Here
  • October 31st, 2017: Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority Issues an Update on our Drought Status: See Press Release Here
  •  November 14th, 2017: Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority Notifies City and County Water Use Restrictions are no Longer Required: Read RWSA's Statement Here
  • November 17th, 2017: Albemarle County Service Authority lifts drought warning restrictions for customers: See ACSA Letter Here
  • November 20th, 2017: Drought Warning Restrictions are no Longer in Effect for City of Charlottesville: See Press Release, or Here

2017 Charlottesville Drought Restriction Flyer: CLICK HERE 

Click here to read a full list of FAQs regarding the drought

To learn more about the Charlottesville area water supply managed by Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority, please click here for RWSA’s Drought Website.

For current status of reservoir levels and water demand for Charlottesville: Click Here 

If you live in Albemarle County and receive water from Albemarle County Service Authority, please go to their website for updates on drought restrictions: ACSA Website Here

Want regular updates about the drought? Email us and we will put you on a list-serve: waterconservation@charlottesville.org

 Questions?

Please contact waterconservation@charlottesville.org or call (434) 970-3800 with you questions & concerns

 For live updates on the drought and tips for saving water follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

EVERY DROP COUNTS- PLEASE DO YOUR PART TO SAVE WATER