CALIFORNIA (KTXL) — As California enters yet another year of drought, cities and counties across the state implemented water restrictions in the hopes of reducing strain on the states water sources.
According to the state, banning the watering of non-functional lawns will save hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water a year.
Although Kern County has not imposed any fines, you can be fined for not having defensible space for wildfires, as wildfire season is exacerbated by the drought. Lack of defensible space will result in a $500 fine.
Water restrictions in Northern California
Contra Costa County
In April, Contra Costa Water District asked users to reduce water usage by 15%.
The district proposed a temporary drought surcharge of up to 15% starting in July.
On June 21, the Manteca City Council declared a drought emergency moving the city into Stage 2 of its water shortage contingency plan and causing increased water restrictions for residents, businesses and city hall.
“Residents can expect to see yellow and brown lawns, yellow and brown public spaces, parks, etc,” Manteca Public Works Director Carl Brown said.
Businesses, churches, schools and hospitals are banned from watering their decorative lawns as part of the city and state’s efforts to save water.
“Oftentimes, we found that outside irrigation is the biggest use of water for our residents, so reducing the amount of time and the days that they’re watering will really help scale back for the amount of water they’re utilizing,” Brown said.
The Marin Water Board of Directors created new guidelines in March to prohibit the instillation of new decorative lawns in commercial areas.
“The board’s decision is intended to discourage new installations of purely decorative grass around business complexes and in street medians by restricting use of the District’s potable and recycled water supplies for grass care and maintenance,” Marin Water said in a press release.
In May, the Placer County Water Agency entered into Stage 2 of their Water Shortage Contingency Plan.
In Stage 2 of Placer County Water Agency’s (PCWA) water restrictions customers are asked to:
- Water landscaping between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. to reduce evaporation
- Watering can be done outside of those time frames for plant containers, trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens if they are being watered by a drip irrigation system, hand watering or a smart controller system.
- Turf watering is limited to three days per week during the months of July, August and September.
- During April, May, June, October and November turf watering is limited to two days per week.
- Washing down sidewalks and driveways is prohibited unless necessary for public safety.
- Non-essential flushing of mains and fire hydrants shall be prohibited
PCWA also offers a smart water use rebate program with a series of items that can be installed at your home.
Some of the rebates include:
- A $500 rebate for installing a water storage tank
- A $250 rebate for installing an EPA WaterSense approve Weather Based Irrigation Controller
- A $50 rebate for installing a solar or safety pool cover
- A $1,000 rebate for replacing grass lawns to water-efficient landscaping
The Sacramento County Water Resources Control Board also implemented a series of water restrictions in May for residents, businesses and water suppliers statewide.
What’s prohibited for everyone?
- Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways
- Runoff when irrigating with potable water
- Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars
- Using potable water in decorating water features that do not recirculate the water
- Using outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation
What is required for businesses?
- Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers on request
- Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily
What is required of water suppliers?
- Impose restrictions on outdoor irrigation
- Notify customers about leaks that are within the customer’s control
- Report on water use monthly
- Report on compliance and enforcement
The Stockton City Council voted in mid-July to approve an ordinance that would allow residents to be fined if they do not water on their designated days.
This decision was in response to the state moving to Stage 2 of its water conservation plan, which includes having California residents reduce waster usage by 20%.
This is the following watering schedule for residents:
Odd numbered addresses
- Sunday — No watering
- Monday — No watering
- Tuesday — Water
- Wednesday — No watering
- Thursday — No watering
- Friday — No watering
- Saturday — Water
The city of West Sacramento began implementing a watering schedule for residents on June 9.
- Addresses ending in odd numbers will water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
- Addresses ending in even numbers will water Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
- Residents are not allowed to water between 10 a.m and 7 p.m.
Residents are also being asked to:
- Fix leaks or broken sprinklers within 7 days
- Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of using a hose
- Use a pool cover
- Restaurants are only to serve water upon request
In late May, Yuba City moved from an educational approach in their water conservation to an enforcement approach.
“If the dry weather continues, we really need to maximize the conservation now, so we have that availability later on,” said Yuba City’s Public Works Director Ben Moody to FOX40 in early May.
Residents are being asked to conserve a minimum of 20% of water and outdoor watering days have been reduced to Mondays and Thursdays.
Even numbered addresses
- Sunday — Water
- Monday — No watering
- Tuesday — No water
- Wednesday — Water
- Thursday — No water
- Friday — No water
- Saturday — No water
Water restrictions in Southern California
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power placed restriction on their customers in May by reducing lawn watering to two-days per week in hopes of reducing water usage by 35%.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to about 40% of the state’s population, declared a water shortage emergency last month and called for millions of people to reduce watering their yards to just one day a week.
Street addresses in odd numbers will be limited to watering on Mondays and Fridays, while those ending in even numbers can water on Thursdays and Sundays.
Those who don’t comply with the new rules will initially receive a warning but could see escalating fines for continuing violations, Martin Adams, the LADWP’s general manager and chief engineer, told the Times.
The city of San Diego followed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Stage 2 water restrictions in June by also asking residents to reduce water use by 20%.
Under the new “Level 2” restrictions, San Diego customers are asked to limit landscape watering to three days a week — before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. That does not apply to commercial growers, nurseries, or golf courses.
“Fortunately in the San Diego region, we’ve invested a lot of money to diversify our water supply. So our situation locally isn’t as dire as some of the other areas within the State of California, but our conservation efforts can help other agencies in the state by continuing to secure our water supplies and taking less supplies from the statewide system,” said San Diego Director of Public Utilities Department Juan Guerreiro.