California Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order that mandates communities across California reduce their water usage by 25 percent has proven not enough for the City of Turlock.
Mayor Gary Soiseth made a proclamation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that the City will be tightening restrictions of citizens’ water use as part of the stage three of the City of Turlock’s Emergency Water Shortage Plan.
“As you all know we’re entering into our fourth year of a drought and it’s with a heavy heart that I make this proclamation, but I think it’s the right thing to do and I think our city will rise to the occasion and meet the standards set forth by our governor,” said Soiseth Tuesday evening.
Turlock’s per capita water consumption is at an all time low as the City is pumping the same volume of groundwater as it did 20 years ago despite an increase in population by 20,000 residents said Director of Municipal Services Michael Cooke. However, it is not conservative enough as a statewide comparison shows Turlock as one of the more than 100 towns that needs to conserve 35 percent as mandated by the State Water Resources Control Board. Other nearby towns with the same reduction rate includes Merced, Modesto, and Riverbank.
“Turlock’s residents and businesses have done an excellent job of conserving water over the past seven years but it’s imperative that we do more,” said Director of Municipal Services Michael Cooke. “However, these are desperate times and require desperate measures.”
Increased water conservation initiatives throughout the city go into effect today and include limiting outdoor landscape watering to two days a week — residents that live in odd numbered houses can now only water on Wednesdays and Sundays while those in even numbered days can water on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Watering is now prohibited between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends watering is only allowed between 12 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“Implementing this new schedule will help, but it won’t be enough by itself so I encourage all of our customers to use water as efficiently as possible,” said Cooke.
Other suggested water conservation techniques include limiting water cycles, adjusting sprinkler heads, capturing water in the shower before it gets hot and using that to water plants, as well as only running full loads in the dish washer and clothes washer. While Cooke said education is first and he is cognizant that it will take time for residents to adjust to the more aggressive conservation schedule, he also noted that the City is looking to hire part-time staff for implementation of the new watering regulations.