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Water rations effective immediately for Rio Dell residents

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RIO DELL- Residential water use in Rio Dell will now be rationed following state orders to stop using water from the eel river.

During a special city hall meeting Tuesday night, city officials instated a stage 3 water emergency plan. In that plan residents will be restricted to 50 gallons of water, per person, per day. Other water restrictions are as follows:

  • Landscape irrigation or watering of lawns or gardens;
  • Washing of cars, boats, trailers or other vehicles;
  • Filling of swimming pools or hot tubs;
  • Serving of drinking water or restaurants unless requested;
  • Filling or operating ornamental fountains, ponds or lakes;
  • Sewer system maintenance, fire protection training or flushing of hydrants;
  • Street cleaning or dust control;
  • Use of hydrants for anything other than an emergency

The restrictions go into effect immediately. City officials say these measures are being taken as a way to compromise with the state water resources control board. Rio Dell is one of more than one hundred junior water rights holders to receive the orders to stop diverting water from the Eel River in a letter last week from the State Water Resources Control Board.

Because the Eel River is the city's only water source, officials say a complete halt to water consumption would be impossible.

“On the average it's a substantial reduction cut in the people's use of water in this community and it will be in place until such time as the state lifts the edict which may be November or may be December,” said Rio Dell City Manager Jim Stretch. “It just depends when we get a lot of rain and the river comes back up.”

Water meters will be checked every two weeks by the city. Those that do not comply will first be issued a warning. Further refusal to comply with the mandatory reduction will result in fines of up to five hundred dollars.