The dry spring and summer is having a big impact on area rivers.
Low river levels mean people that live in the town of Colton have been told they can’t use water for any outside use.
In Colton, there will likely be a lot of brown lawns in the coming weeks.
If families abide by the restrictions, outside plants will likely die off too. But for businesses, the stakes are much higher.
Kathy Carroll is proud of what she built on her property. Her business, K’s Nursery, has been around for 24 years.
But last Friday, her water district delivered a bombshell.
“They just kind of hit it with us, boom,” she said.
The Oregon Water Resources Department laid down the rules: No irrigation of crops, no watering your lawn or garden, no outside watering – period.
“It’s very, very upsetting,” said Carroll.
This is the second water restriction her nursery has been through. The last one was just three years ago.
“A lot of people have bought a lot of plants from us and, you know, if they can’t water them, they’re going to die,” she said.
The Colton Water District said it’s out of their hands.
“We had a dry May, a dry June, dry July, high temperatures, low snow melt,” said Jan Kaforski, who is with the Colton Water District.
The way the rules are set up, the newest areas to be granted water rights are the first to be restricted. Colton is still the new kid on the block even though they’ve had water rights for more than 50 years.
For Carroll, there aren’t many options.
“I can’t say that I’m going to abide by it,” she said.
As the bees continue to do their job in her nursery, Carroll will keep doing hers.
She said she would rather pay a fine than not water her plants.
“I’d have to find a job somewhere else, because I’d be out of business,” she said. “It’s my livelihood. I grew up here and I want to stay here and I love it here.”
The fire department is the only place that is exempt from the restrictions. Fines for those caught watering start at $500.
The big question is when the restrictions will end, but for now, they are indefinite.
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