Amherst fines violators of mandatory water ban

The ban isn't expected to end soon, but it'll cost you if you break it

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Amherst has had a mandatory water ban since August 25th, with no penalties if they broke it; but now, that’s all changed.

For 2 months, Amherst’s mandatory water ban has restricted residents from watering their grass and washing their cars during the day. The select board has adopted a penalty system for violators.

Assistant Amherst town manager Dave Ziomek explained the changes to 22News, “At the recent meeting, they amended their policies to include 3 things. The first level is a warning. Everyone will get a written warning from the town of Amherst that they are not complying with the water ban.”

Break the rule twice, it’s a $50 fine, and every time after that, it’s $100. There are 3 people responsible for enforcing these bans: the superintendent of public works, the police chief, and building commissioner. Town manager Paul Bockelman says he doesn’t expect to fine anyone because hardly anybody has been breaking the ban. He says it’s more of a matter of making sure everything is on record.

Ziomek told 22News residents have been reporting one another.

The town has been primarily notifying businesses about the new fines, while some residents, like Rob Crowner, haven’t gotten the message, “No, I hadn’t actually,” says Crowner. “I assumed there were fines to begin with, so I didn’t know that there were new fines.”

The town does not plan to sending notification of these fines to everyone.

The ban is to ensure the town has enough water this fall and winter.