By Geena Martinez
MIDLAND - It's official. Mandatory water restrictions have been approved by the Midland City Council.
Pretty soon you'll have to pay up if you violate those restrictions but the cutbacks on water use are causing concerns for local landscapers.
"We have a limited amount of water available," Midland Utilities Director, Stuart Purvis, said. "We can't really exceed it, if we do, we put the whole system at risk."
A risk Purvis said is very serious for the city of Midland.
On Tuesday morning, Midland City Council members passed a tighter drought contingency plan. Now residents will only be allowed to water twice a week.
If you don't comply, you'll be fined up to $500. City officials said it's necessary to in order to stay under the water ceiling.
"The first 12 days in June, we exceeded them seven times, so the trend is going in the wrong direction," Purvis said.
Landscaper Lee Petty isn't opposed to the new water restrictions.
"Most of the grass and plant material I use is drought tolerant and it can go down to two days a week," he said. "It's just establishing the new stuff."
But he worries they might hurt how he and others make a living if they can't get any leeway.
"If we're not allowed to water steady for a week or two after new plants and trees are put in, they're just at stake," Petty said. "There's a lot of nurseries that need us to buy their material."
Petty and Eric Selinger spoke to council members about this, who ultimately decided anyone who wants to water outside of the restrictions will have to apply for permission to do so at City Hall. Each request will be determined on a case by case basis.
"They're going to support the people that need to do that but it's going to take more work from the irrigator, because as they said in there, they're placing some of the burden on us," Selinger said.
Petty and Selinger are happy with the outcome, but they also have ideas on how the city can encourage residents to save water.
"The city should recognize that you're doing something about it and we see the reduction in your meter, we're going to give you four dollars or whatever," Selinger said. "Something, anything."