December 08, 2022

Osceola enters stage two of water conservation measures

The Osceola Water Board approved 5-0 moving to the second stage of the water conservation plan, ‘Water Warning - Restrictions,’ at the board meeting on Nov. 3.

At the meeting, Osceola Water Works Superintendent Brandon Patterson updated the board on the current water level at West Lake, which was 3.5 feet below the spillway. A graph showing pool elevation levels, surface area, and more calculated the cumulative days of water supply at 306. Osceola had been in stage one of the water conservation plan, ‘Water Watch - Voluntary Conservation Measures,’ since an emergency board meeting on Sept. 20 when the lake level was 30 inches below the spillway.

Ordinance

Water Warning - Restrictions reads in part:

A Water Warning may be declared when the water level in West Lake reaches an elevation 1069.0 feet above Mean Sea Level (3-feet below normal pool elevation of 1072.0 MSL). Under these conditions, no user shall use municipal water service in any manner contrary to the following:

• Outdoor watering and irrigation is prohibited, except as follows.

• Watering or irrigation of flower and vegetable gardens…watering shall only be done between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

• Car washing is prohibited, except at commercial establishments that provide that service.

• No water shall be used to fill private swimming pools, children’s wading pools, reflecting pools, or any other outdoor pool or pond.

• No water shall be used to watch the streets, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks or building exteriors

• No water shall be used for nonessential cleaning of commercial and industrial equipment, machinery, and interior spaces

• Water shall be served at restaurants only upon the request of the customer.

Water reclaimed or recycled after some primary use may be used with restriction, as can water derived from sources other than the Osceola Water Plant.

Penalties

Under ‘Water Warning - Restrictions,’ penalties for violations may be imposed on those who do not follow the ordinance.

For first violations, the water board will issue a written notice of the violation to the water user, second violation is a $65 surcharge, and all subsequent violations will be $130. Any customer who is charged with a violation may request a hearing before the Water board.

Osceola Water Works can draw from two different intake levels in West Lake, however the bottom level presents treatment challenges. Previous attempts to use that water resulted in water treatment violations, and water quality issues for customers. Patterson has hired a company to come to West Lake to dive down and assess the bottom intake to see if it can be moved up; that will tentatively take place in the spring.

Drought monitors are updated every Tuesday, and made available on Thursday mornings. The most recent drought monitor dated Nov. 17 shows Clarke County in D1 - Moderate Drought.

Water rate increase

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the water board approved the following rates:

Residential - $9.72/thousand

Commercial - $9.45/thousand (0-50,000 gallons); $7.70/thousand (over 50,000 gallons)

Industrial - $6.12/thousand

Bulk - $12.61/thousand

All accounts are billed for either a minimum 2,000 gallons of water, or calculated use over 2,000 gallons.

The resolution, 2022-20, passed 5-0.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.