Santa Cruz – Once again, Santa Cruz residents have demonstrated their commitment to water conservation. July 31 marked the half-way mark of Stage 1 Water Restrictions, which began May 1 and runs through October 31, and City Water Department customers are on track to meet the goal for water savings.
Daily water production has been running right on par with City’s water reduction targets of about 11 million gallons per day for June and July. The restrictions are designed to maintain adequate storage in Loch Lomond Reservoir in case next winter is dry. The overall goal this year is to keep the reservoir at or above 75% full at the end of October. It’s the city’s only “savings account” for drought years, said Toby Goddard, Water Conservation Manager for the city.
During Stage 1 water restrictions, water customers are asked not to irrigate between 10:00am and 5:00pm, to use a shut-off nozzle on hoses at all times, to not hose down driveways or sidewalks, to serve water in restaurants only upon request, and to provide hotel guests the option of not laundering linens daily to conserve water.
The water department closely watches the community’s water use and has hired two seasonal employees to assist with education and enforcement, and to monitor compliance. If a customer is found to be in violation of the restrictions, they’re notified by the water department and given two weeks to correct the violation. After that, financial penalties are levied. “The majority of customers we notify are unaware of their violation and are eager to correct it, once it’s brought to their attention,” said Aerin Martin, Environmental Projects Analyst for the water department. About 400 notifications have been issued this summer and of those, only 16 have resulted in penalties. “The most challenging violations to correct are when the owner of the property lives out of town,” added Martin.
The majority of violations are related to poorly monitored or faulty irrigation. “Because many irrigation systems are programmed to operate during early morning hours, homeowners don’t see them in operation and are unaware of leaks or misdirected spray,” said Martin.
Toby Goddard isn’t surprised by the community’s response to water restrictions. “Santa Cruz has some of the lowest per capita use in the state. People in our city respect their natural resources and have done an exceptional job cutting back their use of water over the past ten years.”
For more information on restricted uses and how you can save water, visit http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/surfcitysaves
For more information contact: Toby Goddard, Water Conservation Manager, 420-5232