Mathews County, VA
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Mathews County 11-19-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Purpose and authority to declare water emergencies.
For purposes of this chapter, unless the context clearly requires a contrary meaning, the term "water" shall mean potable water withdrawn from any water utility system that is owned and/or operated "by a locality, authority, or company distributing water for a fee or charge."
In the event of an actual or anticipated shortage of potable water due to climatic, hydrological, mechanical and/or other extraordinary conditions, the County of Mathews may determine that certain uses of water should be reduced, restricted, or curtailed. These reductions, restrictions, and curtailments are intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Mathews County, Virginia.
The County Administrator, with the approval of the Board of Supervisors, or its subsequent ratification by the Board within 48 hours, is authorized to declare water emergencies in the County, as a whole or portions thereof, affecting the use of water. A drought emergency declaration will be issued after consideration of the conditions of individual affected systems.
Drought monitoring to anticipate water emergency conditions. Mathews County, in cooperation with other jurisdictions of the Middle-Peninsula Water Supply Planning Region, will monitor the U.S. Drought Monitor operated by the United States Geological Service and made available through DEQ's website at:[1] When the USGS Drought Monitor registers a condition "D1-Moderate Drought" for Mathews County, the County Administrator shall declare a drought watch alert for all water systems addressed by this chapter.
Editor's Note: See also the website at:
After the declaration of a water emergency under the authority provided by Code of Virginia §§ 15.2-923 and 15.2-924, and upon a determination by the County Administrator of the existence of the following one or more conditions, the County Administrator shall take the following actions which shall apply to any person whose water supply is furnished from an affected water utility system:
Condition 1 (drought warning). When moderate but limited supplies of water are available or when a "D2-Severe Drought" condition is registered on the USGS Drought Monitor, the County Administrator may, through appropriate means to include newspaper, radio and postings at public buildings, call upon the affected population and entities to employ prudent restraint in water usage and to conserve water voluntarily by whatever methods available.
Condition 2 (drought emergency). The County Administrator is hereby further authorized during the duration of a water emergency to formally request of citizens and businesses the restriction or prohibition of any or all of the following water uses by users of an identified, affected water system after consultation with the affected water system owner/operator:
Watering of outside shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, home vegetable gardens, or any other vegetation except from a watering can or other container not exceeding five gallons in capacity. This limitation shall not apply to commercial greenhouses, nursery stocks and sod growing, which may be watered in the minimum amount required to preserve plant life between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, or any other type of mobile equipment, except in licensed commercial vehicle wash facilities.
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.
The operation of any ornamental fountain or other structure making a similar use of water.
The filling of swimming or wading pools requiring more than five gallons of water, or the refilling of swimming or wading pools that were drained after the effective date of the declaration of emergency, except that pools may be filled to a level of two feet below normal, or water may be added to bring the level to two feet below normal, or as necessary to protect the structure from hydrostatic damage.
The use of water during outdoor recreational activities. This limitation shall not apply to water utilized for drinking and sanitary purposes during such activities.
The use of water from fire hydrants for any purposes other than fire suppression and related training exercises, unless otherwise approved by the County Administrator.
The serving of drinking water in restaurants, except upon request.
The operation of any water-cooled comfort air conditioning that does not have water-conserving equipment in operation.
Condition 3. In addition to the restrictions and prohibitions authorized under Subsection A(2) above, the County Administrator is hereby further authorized during the duration of a water emergency to implement any or all of the following for any of the affected water systems:
For any publicly owned and operated public water utility:
Industrial, institutional, commercial, governmental, wholesale and all other nonresidential customers shall be allotted a percentage reduction based on that customer's average monthly water consumption for the same billing period of the previous calendar year's consumption.
Individual residential customers shall be limited to a specific volume or percentage, reduction of water per month.
If the allotted monthly water usage, as determined in Subsection A(3)(a)[1] and [2] above, is exceeded, the customer shall be charged two times the existing service rate for consumption over the minimum monthly charge for every 1,000 gallons of water consumed above the allotted volume. Where prior consumption data is not available, the County Administrator shall estimate allocations based upon the data available from similar activities of equal intensity.
Declaration of a moratorium on new and expanded connections to the public water utility system, unless such connections are primarily intended and designed to provide fire protection and/or potable drinking water to lawfully permitted residential or nonresidential buildings that are existing or substantially constructed at the time that a water emergency is declared.
For any privately owned and operated public water supply: The system operator shall be required to demonstrate on a monthly schedule, compliance with the capacity requirements set forth by the Virginia Department of Health Waterworks Regulations (12 VAC5-590-520 and 12 VAC5-590-690).
Condition 4. When crucially limited supplies of water are available, the County Administrator shall restrict the use of water from any publicly owned or operated affected water system to purposes which are absolutely essential to life, health and safety. Such permitted uses of water may include, but may not be limited to, the provision of limited quantities of water for drinking and sanitation purposes to residents, health care facility patients and/or emergency shelter evacuees, who are unable to utilize their potable water supplies due to the loss of electrical power, storm events or other natural or man-made causes.
Effective date. The imposition of the restrictions above shall become effective upon their being printed in any newspaper of general circulation in Mathews County, or broadcasted upon any radio or television station serving Mathews County.
The County Administrator may suspend publicly owned water utility service to any person who continues to violate the provisions of this section or any of the conservation regulations promulgated by the County of Mathews.
The County Administrator shall notify the Board of Supervisors when, in his opinion, the water emergency situation no longer exists. Upon concurrence of the Board of Supervisors, the water emergency shall be declared to have ended.