Sussex County Delaware

Water Restrictions
Hearing on May 23


DNREC to Discuss Wording
of Proposed Restrictions

A public hearing on proposed mandatory water use restrictions will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 23, 2002, at DNREC's auditorium in the Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover.

DNREC officials emphasized that mandatory water use restrictions are not being considered for implementation at this time but that the purpose of the public hearing is to obtain comments on the language and content of the proposed mandatory water use restrictions.

The hearing precedes the next meeting of the Governor's Drought Advisory Committee scheduled for May 29 at 2 p.m. in the Tatnall Building.

Rainfall across the state has been at marginally normal levels since the beginning of March to date. Although this has substantially increased stream flows, especially in northern New Castle County, ground water levels in adjacent Chester County, Pa. remain critically low.

Ground water discharge feeds streams during fair weather, and because ground water levels never recovered over the winter and spring, surface supplies will dwindle if an extended period of hot, dry weather occurs. This could force the imposition of the proposed mandatory water use restrictions.

The recent wet and cool weather has helped keep demand at normal to slightly below normal levels, however, residents are reminded that as the summer approaches, voluntary conservation efforts will help stave off more drastic, mandatory measures. Everyone is asked to please continue to conserve and use water wisely.

A summary of the proposed restrictions follows:

Category of Use: Turf Watering -- Use of fresh (potable) water for turf watering will be limited to the hours between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. by manual means and only for newly sodded or seeded areas. Non-residential landscaping work over 10,000 square feet in progress when the restrictions are imposed may be watered by various means between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m., and automatic watering may be done during regular business hours if under the supervision of a professional landscaper. Pesticides may be watered in within 2 days of application between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. using the recommended rate. Sprinkler system companies may test a newly installed system up to 10 minutes per zone and must display a sign on the premises stating testing is occurring.

Category of Use: Agricultural Watering -- Use of fresh (potable) water is allowed for production of food, fiber, nursery stock, sod, flowers, livestock, and poultry. These proposed restrictions do not impact agricultural irrigation. Newly planted outdoor plants, not producing food or fibre, may be watered manually, with soaker hoses or, for trees, irrigation bags, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. Nursery stock may be watered automatically for 2 periods per day totaling no more than 6 hours, with no more than 10 minutes of syringing of stressed plants between the hours of 12 noon and 3 p.m. Public gardens may be watered by any means to preserve specimens. Watering of plants required in earthworks projects may be done under officially approved plans.

Category of Use: Golf Courses and Athletic Fields -- Use of fresh (potable) water is allowed between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. only for tees and greens to prevent loss. Daytime syringing for heat sensitive grasses is permitted to prevent loss. Watering of grass or clay courts and athletic fields is allowed between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Category of Use: Miscellaneous Uses -- Use of fresh (potable) water is allowed only in ornamental pools that support life. Use of fresh (potable) water for washing any paved surface is not permitted. Use of fresh (potable) water for manually washing a private vehicle is allowed only on an unpaved surface. Emergency vehicles are exempt from this rule. Hydrant use is not permitted except for fire fighting or other public protection purposes performed by authorized personnel. Water may be served in public establishments only at the customerís request.

Exceptions: Where a source of non-fresh water (non-potable, such as recycled wastewater or water from a stormwater irrigation pond) exists at the location of use, it must be used, where appropriate, in lieu of fresh water, and may be used at the discretion of the user in a conservative manner.

The complete language of the restrictions may be obtained by calling DNREC's Water Supply Section, (302) 739-4793 or (302) 739-3665, or through the Drought Information link on the DNREC web site at

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