Brookfield lawns will have to remain parched, for now
Watering bans remain in place locally
Despite seeing other communities relax water restrictions, Brookfield will not offer relief to homeowners looking to offer the same to their lawns.
Drought conditions continue to vex locals who have been hoping for a respite from a summer filled with record-high temperatures and little rainfall. Recent rain has not significantly improved conditions, city officials said, and the Department of Natural Resources still deems the risk for fires to be "moderate."
Brookfield officials say there's no exact science as to when a ban on lawn water and outdoor burning will be lifted, other than to suggest that it depends on the weather.
"Go ask (WTMJ meterologist) John Malan," quipped Brookfield Water Utility Superintendent Mark Simon, when asked about a timeline.
In a more serious tone, Simon added: "Until we see a more consistent pattern of cooler temperatures and rainfall, I'd think that (the ban) would stay in effect for a little while anyways."
Ban's positive impact
Both Simon and Fire Chief Charlie Myers credited the watering ban with keeping the water levels in the area at a manageable level.
"Our wells still are pumping quite a bit, maybe not the 20 to 24 hours that they were a few weeks ago, but that's partially because of the ban," Simon said.
"The reports that we have are that the city is able to keep up with the demand and keep up with the city systems at acceptable levels," Myers added.
Partially due to the ability those well-managed water levels, there aren't any concerns about having sufficient water to fight fires in the area, the chief said.
Rules in place
City and town policies for watering flowers are based on street addresses and only cover hand-watering. Property owners may water flower beds and shrubs from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. based on address.
In both the town and city of Brookfield, special exceptions can be made for recent lawn work such as sodding. Permits are necessary for such watering and residents will have to prove the lawn is new.
Even-numbered properties may be water on even-numbered days and odd-numbered properties on odd-numbered days, based on the 6 p.m. start time.
Fines in the two municipalities vary, with a nearly $500 ticket coming in the city compared to about $80 in the town.
Elm Grove has not issued an official watering ban, but does still have a burn ban in place.
The village recently examined legal precedent to impose its own sprinkling bans, similar to the ones in Brookfield. State law does give municipalities the right to regulate private wells if failing to do so would have considerable impact on the community as a whole.
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