Watering restricted during summer months
During the summer months, Hays city officials urge residents to restrict outdoor water use.
Outdoor watering between noon and 7 p.m. is prohibited, as is wasting water. The time restrictions are in effect from June 1 to Sept. 30; wasting water is prohibited year-round.
The restrictions are for city water and well-water users alike. The Kansas Department of Agriculture water division also has banned outdoor use of private well water during the same time frame.
"For lawns, we recommend you do not water it unless it needs it," Ellis County Horticulture Extension agent Holly Dickman said.
To test a lawn's moisture, she suggests sticking a screwdriver, rod or other type of probe into the lawn.
"If it goes down easily, most likely there is enough moisture," Dickman said. "You should be able to push down 6 to 8 inches without much effort."
A sign a lawn might be too dry is if someone walks across it and the imprints remain.
"When you do water, be sure to water nice and deeply, to the 6- to 8-inch mark," Dickman said. "Deeply and infrequently is the best way because deeper watering encourages deeper roots."
And watering early in the morning is best.
The water conservation ordinances are enforced by the Hays Police Department, which investigates incidents during routine patrol and receives complaints.
A resident's first violation results in a warning, with a $50 fee for the second, $200 for the third, $250 for the fourth and $300 for the fifth. These citations are issued by city government.
The city also has a year-round "water-waste" ordinance. Residents in violation of this ordinance must appear in municipal court.
More frequent watering, however, is allowed for newly seeded lawns. Water permits can be issued to allow residents to water within restricted hours.
Additionally, permits can be issued to residents needing to rinse an impervious surface for sanitation reasons, or residents wanting to power-wash a house before painting. A permit for a benefit car wash also is necessary if it is between June 1 and Sept. 30 from noon to 7 p.m.
The free permits can be obtained in the city clerk's office or by calling (785) 628-7300. The ordinance is available at haysusa.com