Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
It is watering restriction season for Waukesha County, but in Brookfield, lawn watering, pool filling, and car washing* is restricted whether you are on a private well or municipal water every day of the year.
Somehow I was under the assumption that if one had a private well they were exempt from the watering restrictions. Many people on municipal water kept their private wells for watering and car washing purposes. I also thought there was a season to water restrictions. Not so. All Brookfield residents are under the restrictions all of the time: (My emphasis)
Sprinkling lawns, gardens, shrubs, trees, and other vegetation, washing vehicles or structures and filling swimming pools are restricted to certain days. Sprinkling is restricted to before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. by properties with even-numbered addresses on even-numbered days, and by properties with odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days. The regulations apply all year.
Now I don't have a problem with the concept of conserving water. We don't sprinkle our lawn as a rule, and washing a car is not a weekly occurrence. Brown lawns do survive. Even during the drought of 1988, when it did not rain all summer, I think we only broke down and sprinkled a few times.
In fact, most gardeners know that if you sprinkle often but not long, the root systems tend to grow horizontally instead of down. Watering less frequently, but longer, will result in stronger plants. (Exception: tomatoes need more frequent watering I think.) If the roots are established deeply, more than likely it will rain in a 2 week period and then watering isn't necessary. Early morning watering is better than mid day or evening too.
Newly established lawns, plants/shrubs, and trees do need more care and they are exempt from restrictions. And "A watering can, container or hose may be used at any time to water gardens, trees or shrubs if the device is used manually and not left unattended."
The problem I have with restrictions is for one, the day system. Yes, it is simple. I am just thinking that maybe, just maybe I get the troops to finally wash the vinyl siding on my house only to realize the day is wrong! That is just a little annoyance.
The bigger picture is that Brookfield (and other cities outside of the Lake Michigan watershed) approve heavy water using development like restaurants or car washes left and right, but then tells me, who washes a car maybe 4 times a year I am restricted! (Car washes that use recycled water are exempt from the restriction, but they still use more than a homeowner!)
The article said that fines would be given for violators. In Brookfield the fine is $350. In Waukesha for example, "We wanted to nudge people to realize that we are serious about protecting the (water) resource," said Nancy Quirk of the Waukesha Water Utility.
I don't mind protecting water resources. Plentiful, good quality well water is a problem in Brookfield. But if municipalities were really serious about protecting water resources, would they be approving more and more heavy water users like restaurants, hotels, and car washes? Will water concerns at all determine what VK puts in at his Ruby Farms development? Approving them and then cracking down on residents to "save water" seems a little 2 faced to me.
*UPDATE: City clarifies sprinkling policy, New rule aims to cut down lawn watering Director of Public Works "Grisa said the ordinance does not apply to certain expectations, including hand washing of residential vehicles, residential uses such as children running through sprinklers and had watering of plants with a watering can or hose. He said that residents using water for those purposes should exercise common sense and not keep water running when it's not being used."
Links:Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, Vicki Mckenna