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Water-Related Emergency Declarations
Water-Related Emergency Declarations
The City is authorized under Chapter, Article 10 of the City Code to declare three types of water-related situations requiring various actions by the public to conserve water use. The purpose of this section is to explain in layman's terms the application of these situations.

Water Watch - When conditions indicate that the probability of a drought or other condition may cause a water shortage within the public water supply, the City Commission may declare a Water Watch to ask water customers to voluntarily reduce water use. Voluntary measures may include limiting or eliminating non-essential uses of water such as:

  • sprinkling of water on lawns, shrubs or trees (including golf courses);

  • washing of vehicles;

  • using water for swimming pools, fountains, and evaporative air conditioning systems; and

  • preventing the unnecessary waste of water.

Water Warning - When drought conditions or other conditions exist causing a major water supply shortage and present supplies are starting to decline, the City Commission may declare a Water Warning that will recommend restrictions on all non-essential uses of water during the period of the Water Warning.

Water Emergency - When an emergency exists by reason of a shortage of water needed for essential uses, the City Commission shall declare a Water Emergency to impose mandatory restrictions on water use during the period of the Water Emergency. 

When a Water Emergency has been declared, Section 7-1007 of the City Code authorizes the City Manager to implement mandatory water conservation measures, including, but not limited to:

  • suspending new connections to the public water supply distribution system (not to include fire hydrants or those connections made pursuant to agreements entered into by the City prior to the effective date of the Water Emergency declaration);

  • restricting the uses of watering one or more classes of water use, either wholly or in part;

  • restricting the sale of water at coin-operated facilities; or

  • imposing water rationing.

Additionally, Section 7-1008 of the City Code authorizes the City Commission to adopt, by ordinance, emergency water rates designed to encourage the conservation of water through price controls.  

All of the aforementioned water situations continue until such time as the City Commission has declared an end to the specific declaration. Both the declaration and end of a water-related declaration must be adopted by a resolution and published in the official newspaper prior to being effective.  

The City may prosecute violations of mandatory water-related declarations and regulations in Municipal Court. Penalties for non-compliance of water-related declarations may include fines of up to $500 and imprisonment not to exceed thirty days. The Municipal Judge will determine the penalty for violators.

Classes of Water Use
Section 7-1002 of the City Code defines four classes of water that may be regulated during declared mandatory Water Emergencies. The four classes are as follows:

  • Class 1:  Water used for outdoor watering, either public or private, for gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs, plants, parks, golf courses, playing fields, swimming pools, or other recreational areas, and the washing of vehicles, boats, trailers, or the exterior of any building or structure.

  • Class 2:  Water used for any commercial or industrial, including agricultural purposes, except water actually necessary to maintain health and personal hygiene of bona fide employees while such employees are engaged in the performance of their duties at their place of employment.

  • Class 3:  Domestic usage, other than that which would be included in either Class 1 or 2, above.

  • Class 4:  Water necessary only to sustain human life and the lives of domestic pets and maintain standards of hygiene and sanitation.


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With Abilene
City of Abilene
P.O. Box 519
Abilene, Kansas 67410
Phone: 785-263-2550
Fax: 785-263-2532
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