On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order requiring mandatory conservation for all residents and directed several agencies to take immediate action to safeguard the state’s remaining potable water supplies in preparation for a possible fifth year of drought.
On May 5, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a Mandatory Water Conservation Regulation. The new regulations dictate that small water suppliers, such as the City of Lakeport, restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. The City of Lakeport has been proactive and last September asked its citizens to voluntarily restrict their outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. Now the State regulations require that these restrictions be made mandatory.
In order to comply with State mandates, the City Council adopted a resolution setting forth which days of the week citizens can water as follows:
Those homes and businesses with addresses ending in an even number may irrigate outdoor ornamental landscapes or turf on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Those homes and businesses with addresses ending in an odd number may irrigate on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Please note that these regulations do not apply to vegetable gardens or fruit/nut-bearing trees, which can be watered as needed.
Additionally, the new State regulations dictate the following:
- No use of potable water to wash sidewalks and driveway
- No runoff when irrigating with potable water
- No using hoses with no automatic shutoff nozzles to wash cars
- No using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water
- No irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following measureable rainfall
- Restaurants cannot serve water to their customers unless the customer requests it
- Hotels and motels must offer their guests the option to not have their linens and towels laundered daily and prominently display this option in each guest room
The State has authorized local agencies to fine property owners up to $500 a day for failure to implement the water use prohibitions and restrictions. The State Water Board can issue informational orders, conservation orders, or cease and desist orders to water suppliers for failure to meet their conservation standard. Water agencies that violate cease and desist orders are subject to a civil liability of up to $10,000 a day.
Residents and business owners are requested to limit their outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water to the required two days per week as well as following the other State regulations that have been put into place. If the City cannot gain compliance, it may be necessary to begin issuing administrative fines. The City does not want to take this position; but faced with fines of up to $10,000, it may not have a choice.