Outdoor Water Use - Frequently Asked Questions
Who do the Outdoor Water Use Regulations apply to? Under Ordinance No. 116A-34, the outdoor water use regulations apply only to customers of the James City Service Authority (JCSA). However, citizens with private wells and customers who live in the County but are served by Newport News Water Works (Grove and Kingsmill areas) are encouraged to follow the odd/even schedule
Under the regulations, when can I use water outdoors? JCSA customers can use water outdoors for any purpose, at any time, on any day, as long as it is with a container or with a hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle. The hose must be attended at all times.
Any other method of outdoor water use, such as irrigation systems, sprinklers, or hoses without automatic shutoff nozzles, must follow the Outdoor Water Use Schedule, which is based on street address.
Under the Schedule:
- JCSA customers with odd addresses can use water outdoors between midnight and 9 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and midnight on Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays. Neighborhood common areas are considered odd addresses.
- JCSA customers with even addresses can use water outdoors between midnight and 9 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and midnight on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.
- No outdoor water use is permitted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or on Mondays to allow for system recovery.
Are there any exceptions?
- New turf (newly established lawn area) can be watered for up to 60 days from time of installation. Exemption requests must be submitted to the JCSA in writing or online at www.jamescitycountyva.gov/jcsa. Properties with a pending Certificate of Occupancy need not apply for an exemption.
- Nursery stock and plant material can be watered on property where it is grown, produced or sold.
- Licensed vehicle washing and pressure washing businesses are exempt from the regulations.
Is aerating, reseeding, over seeding, or topdressing of existing turf an exemption?
- Aerating, reseeding, over seeding, and topdressing of existing turf does not qualify for an exemption under the regulations. For more information about proper turf management, visit www.jccwmg.org or contact Turf Love at 757-564-2170.
Do I get credit on my water bill under the 60-day new turf exemption?
- No. The 60 day new turf exemption does not include a monetary credit. It is a waiver under the outdoor water use regulations allowing you to water new turf for 60 consecutive days instead of following the outdoor water use schedule.
When will the regulations be lifted? The regulations are in effect every year from May 1 through September 30.
How will the regulations be enforced? Violation of the Ordinance is a Class I Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500.Violators who have been reported will be issued one warning in the form of a door hanger either given directly to the resident or left on the front door of the house or business. If a second violation is reported, the County Police will investigate and a summons may be issued.
Can I report a violation? Violations can be reported by calling JCSA Operations at 757-229-7421. You will be asked the address of the property in violation and when the violation occurred.
How can I get more information? Log on www.jamescitycountyva.gov/jcsa, call the Outdoor Water Info Line at 757-259-4152 (recorded message) or JCSA Customer Service at 757-253-6800.
What else can I do to save water? Visit www.jamescitycountyva.gov/bewatersmart and www.hrwet.org for expert conservation tips, landscaping advice, drought tolerant plant suggestions and other helpful information.
Where does our water come from? James City County is the largest municipality in Virginia reliant almost solely on groundwater. Our customers and residents with private wells use groundwater from the Chickahominy-Piney Point aquifer and the Potomac Aquifers. Newport News Water Works supplies water to the Kingsmill and Grove areas.
Why doesn’t the County stop growth until we have more water? We have enough water to supply our basic needs and support projected growth. Our problem is really about the hot summer months, when our customers’ demand for water for outdoor use strains our system to dangerous levels. Right now the number of new homes being built is just half of the number of irrigation systems being installed in existing homes. Also the Commonwealth has not granted local governments the authority to enforce a moratorium on growth short of a dire emergency.
Isn’t tourism and business part of the problem? The fact is, 65 percent of JCSA’s customers are residential, and they use most of the water. Residential demand during the summer increases up to 100 percent over winter demand, while commercial and industrial demand stays about the same. This indicates that the problem is mostly due to outdoor water use, the one customer behavior that changes dramatically from winter to summer.