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Birmingham Water Works announces restrictions in the midst of a Stage Three drought

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Birmingham and surrounding areas are under an advanced drought advisory. (U.S. Drought Monitor)

By Monique Jones

The Birmingham Times

Birmingham and surrounding areas are under an advanced drought advisory. (U.S. Drought Monitor)
Birmingham and surrounding areas are under an advanced drought advisory. (U.S. Drought Monitor)

The Birmingham Water Works has moved to a Stage Three drought warning and announced several measures including surcharges for residential and commercial customers who violate watering restrictions.

Reaching Stage Three means that drought conditions have severely affected the reliability of the BWW’s water resources and its ability to adequately meet the water demands of its customers.

Beginning Nov. 19, watering restrictions will be enforce including:

  • Watering lawns and landscaping using irrigation systems is limited to one hour for one day a week.
  • Watering using a hose is limited to two days a week.
  • Newly-installed lawns and landscaping are exempt from the watering restrictions for the first 20 days after installation.
  • Golf courses that utilize the Water Works’ services must restrict watering to the greens and tees only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Athletic fields should be watered Wednesdays and Saturdays between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. or if fields become dangerous for use due to a lack of water.
  • Fire hydrants should only be used by firefighters or for flushing sewers. Except for commercial car washing, all personal vehicle washing is prohibited.

Darryl R. Jones, assistant general manager of operations and technical services, for the Water Works Board, said the restrictions are “the best alternative for us to maintain our water resources and make it through the remainder of the fall.”

He said the extreme lack of rain, higher than normal water consumption, and Lake Purdy’s low water level created the environment for a Stage Three drought.

Customers can view the Water Works’ drought management plan online or by calling the Drought Hotline at 205-244-4440.

Residents can use 12 hundred cubic feet (ccf), which equals 8,977 gallons per month; water usage over this amount will result in surcharges of 200 percent. Commercial and raw water residents will be subject to surcharges of 200 percent for water usage above 110 percent of their monthly average. Exact surcharges are explained below.

SURCHARGES EXPLAINED
Customer Class Current Rate Stage 3 Surcharge Stage 4 Surcharge
Residential
Block 1 (1-3) CCF $2.27 $0.00 $0.00
Block 2 (4-15) CCF $2.69 $5.38 $10.76
Block 3 (>15) CCF $4.01 $8.02 $16.04
Non-Residential $3.51 $7.02 $14.04
Raw Water $0.894 $1.788 $3.576
Note:  Surcharges are in addition to the normal rates for water consumption.  Surcharges will be applied to residential customers for usage above 12 CCF and for non-residential and raw water customers for consumption above 110% their annual average billing.

Customers can view the Water Works’ drought management plan online or by calling the Drought Hotline at 205-244-4440.