St. Paul council adopts plan that includes warnings, fines in event of stronger water restrictions

Amid the ongoing drought in Minnesota, the St. Paul City Council approved an ordinance that would more strongly enforce water restrictions, if needed.

The council approved the ordinance 7-0 Wednesday.

The new mandate would warn, then fine, residents in the event of a stronger ban.

Currently, portions of the state are in a "drought warning phase," marking severe drought conditions. The St. Paul Regional Water Services agency implemented watering restrictions on July 20 as a result of being in this phase.

If the state enters a "restrictive phase," marking extreme drought conditions, the city would take measures to reduce water usage further.

While in the restrictive phase, there would be a series of steps in the event of violations: the first violation would result in an educational notice, a second would result in a written warning, a third would result in a $50 fine, a fourth would result in a $100 fine, and a fifth would result in a $150 fine and a water shutoff, which includes a $50 fee.

"Our goal is compliance, not punishment by any means," council member Chris Tolbert said Wednesday. "We’re asking people to be part of the solution to preserve our water."

The ordinance can be viewed here.