Water spigot still on in Hinsdale
Updated: August 20, 2012 1:54AM
Hinsdale is enforcing its usual watering restrictions, but has no plans to tighten them.
The village has issued 16 warning tickets so far this year for violating watering rules, reports Public Works Director George Franco.
Between May 15 and Sept. 15, property owners in Hinsdale with odd numbered addresses may water their lawns and landscaping on the odd dates of the month; and people at even-numbered addresses may water on the even dates. Even on those days, watering may only be done between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
People who violate those rules receive a warning, but subsequent violations could result in a fine.
If the drought becomes more severe, the village could prohibit all watering. But that has happened only once in the past 10 years, Franco said.
To keep newly planted trees on public property healthy, the village uses “gator bags,” green plastic bags wrapped around the base of the tree trunk which release water gradually into the ground. Village employees, too, go out and water newly planted landscaping.
The village also asks residents to help when a tree is planted in the parkway in front of their home. The homeowner is given a sheet explaining the optimum way to water new plantings to help them thrive, Franco said.
During long periods of dry weather, it’s even more important for visitors to the forest preserves to be cautious with smoking materials and flames.
Don Parker, communications specialist for the Cook County Forest Preserve District, reminds the public that fires are allowed only in grills in permitted picnic areas. And all coals must be disposed of in hot coal bins provided near the grills.
Probably the biggest drought-related concern to DuPage County Forest Preserve District officials is the potential for an increase in wild fires because of dry conditions.
“We do have a lot of green, which slows down fires, but some of the underlying grasses are very dry,” said Matt Blazek, manager of site operations for the forest preserve district.
Blazek said forest preserve trails are likely to be dusty because of the prolonged dry weather. He also said lakes and streams in the forest preserve are at a lower than normal water level, but he added it won’t take much to solve that situation.
“Really, one good rain will pretty much get things back to normal,” he said.
In DuPage forest preserves, ground fires are allowed only in designated fire rings. No fires may be left burning unattended.
The warm, dry spring allowed the districts to do controlled burns earlier than usual. When weather conditions are appropriate, areas are burned to restore native plant communities, reduce competition between weedy species and return nutrients to the soil.
Since March, controlled burns were done at 86 locations throughout the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Chuck Fieldman contributed to this article