Those found in violation of Ripon’s Water Conservation Measures can expect to face some steep fines.
The Ripon City Council agreed to double penalties at Wednesday’s special session.
Instead of $25, first-time violators within a one year period will have to fork out $50.
Second time violators within that one year would have pay $100 rather than the current $50 while third timers are looking at a $200 fine rather than$100.
Any additional violation within a one year period will face an increased fine of $400 as compared to $200.
These increases will go into effect March 1, according to Director of Public Works Ted Johnston. That’s when mandatory water conservation measures for the winter months are lifted.
As for those increased fines, Johnston and others hope that this will serve as an incentive for residents to make further reductions in water usage given the serious drought conditions.
Council members had considered going to a two-day per week water landscaping schedule once the one-day per week winter schedule concludes at the end of the month.
Instead, they opted to return to the three-day per week schedule.
“They didn’t want to punish those who continue to do the right thing in terms of water conservation,” Johnston said.
From March through October, all properties within the city limits with even numbered addresses will be allowed to do outdoor watering on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Ditto that for odd numbered addresses with a water schedule set for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The new Water Meter Program will have enough time-frame data for staff to analyze online folks who are using more than their fair share of the rations.
Ripon – averaging 27.2 percent, according to Johnston – and other cities throughout the state are required to reduce their water usage by 36 percent based on 2013 baseline figures.
Council did make an exception to industrial and commercial places when it comes to washing down vehicles or outside structures. “Permission must be in writing and each business will be conducted on a case to case basis,” Johnston said.
Elected leaders made sure that the part about “all water leaks, breaks, malfunctions within a water users plumbing, distribution, or irrigation system shall be repaired within 24 hours from the time it is discovered” be tacked on to the resolution.
“It’s a state law that somehow was omitted from the (previous) ordinance,” said Johnston.
Meanwhile, the use of water in fountains or other decorative water features will continue to be prohibited other than water used in ponds to support aquatic life.
The draining and refilling of pools, spas, and ponds will only be allowed for health reasons and structural consideration pending approval from Johnston. Request must be conducted in writing.
Drinking water at restaurants and other food service establishments will only be offered by request.
Information on this ordinance along with other water conservation measures can be conducted by logging on to www.cityofripon.org or calling Ripon City Hall at 209.599.2108.