U.S. Water News Online
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Wary of another lake-emptying drought,
the Birmingham Water Works is proposing a four-stage plan to conserve
precious water in case the weather turns dry.
The steps, ranging from voluntary conservation to a ban on
nonessential outdoor use, are aimed at preventing a repeat of last
summer, when water levels in a major reservoir dropped precariously
An official said the proposal, which will be voted on by board
members in coming weeks, could prevent future problems.
``We'd like to get a plan in place so that in 10 to 20 years from
now we have tools available to deal with it,'' said Randy Chafin,
assistant general manager for the Water Works.
But Lee McLemore, head golf course superintendent at the Country
Club of Birmingham, said he worried the plan would cause his greens
to dry up if they could be watered only once a week.
Libby Rich, who owns Plant Odyssey in Birmingham, was more blunt
in her assessment of the board's decision last summer to restrict her
from using water to tend to her plants.
``Our industry paid a tremendous price. It cost us a fortune in
sales. This is an emotional industry. We love our plants,'' she said.
``They treated us like criminals.''
The four stages under the plan include:
Water Works General Manager Mike Vann said the plan, modeled on
plans of other states, will be approved by the utility's board in
late May or early June.
The board will ask cities in Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Walker
and Blount counties, the area the Water Works serves, to let police
issue fines for wasting water.
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