What you should know about Bakersfield’s new water restrictions

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Drought conditions are worsening and Bakersfield is once again requiring residents to cut back on water.

The City of Bakersfield announced on Monday that it will move into Stage 2 of its drought mitigation plan on Dec. 14.

READ MORE: Bakersfield issues mandatory water restrictions

The new restrictions include limiting lawn water or any outdoor irrigation to three days a week and only between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Dr. Aaron Hegde, Director of the Environmental Resource Management Program at CSUB, pointed out that most of the water used in the state doesn’t come from homes.

“When you look at the residential water use as a percentage of total water use, it’s relatively small,” Hegde said. “But at the same time, every drop makes a difference.”

Dr. Hegde also noted that these restrictions may not be all about concrete outcomes. “That’s the positive effect of any of the policies — to bring awareness to an issue,” he said. “If you want it to be really effective, then you need that enforcement and perhaps a penalty.”

Bakersfield Water Resources Manager Art Chianello and California Water Services Director of Corporate Communications Yvonne Kingman both said their departments have the ability to issue fines or violations to those who don’t follow the restrictions. But they both said it won’t be the first move.

“Right now we’re just focusing on education and outreach and making sure that people are using water wisely,” Chianello said.

Kingman also noted the opportunity for residents to make money. Cal Water has rebate programs for switching from spray to drip irrigation systems and changing turf to drought-tolerant landscaping.

“We always prefer using the carrot over the stick,” Kingman said.

Cal Water, which services about 60 percent of Bakersfield residents, is waiting for final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission before moving into stage 2 along with the City of Bakersfield on Dec. 14.

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