Irrigation Ordinance Prompts Farmer Outcry

Pulaski County CourthouseAn ordinance looking to better regulate the use of irrigation equipment in Pulaski County failed to gain traction, Monday night.

The Pulaski County Commissioners considered the ordinance – which would have prevented irrigation sprinklers from spraying on local roadways to improve motorist safety. The ordinance also attempted to install signage and establish a fine system for violations of the law.

Commission President Terry Young says there are several instances where it could have been useful.

“This ordinance addresses more than just water in the road,” says Young. “I have observed, personally, irrigation equipment blocking the road. If an ambulance had to come through, there would have been no way, or a fire truck, there are people that live at the back of this road. They would have to go back out to the main road an around, it could have cost somebody their life. It’s not just about water on the road, it’s about other things.”

Pulaski County farmers, however, thought the ordinance a harsh step given how easily they say some of the items listed in the ordinance could be prevented, especially spraying water on the roadways.

The ordinance initially called for charging as much as $2,500 depending on the number of violations. That figure in the next draft of the ordinance was lowered to between $100 and $250. Problems such as wind affecting the spray distance and enforcement were also questioned.

Discussion Monday night failed to convince local farmers of its necessity, as one farmer pointed out that he considers it an inconvenience.

“So what a little water gets on my windshield? I can even walk, I walk there everyday, you can time the sprinkler to where I can walk through before it comes around again,” he said. “If you’re worried about your car getting wet, just simple stop. A little inconvenience.”

The ordinance died after failure to receive a motion. Whether the proposal will come back with revised language remains to be seen.