Customers Asked to Reduce Water Use Up to 20 Percent
Amador Water Agency Directors declared a Stage 1 - Water Alert, effective immediately, at their regular Board meeting Thursday, triggering conservation requirements for water customers targeting a 20 percent reduction in use.
Directors have been closely watching dry conditions in the watershed and low levels in reservoirs throughout the state. More recently, the State of California issued “curtailment” orders to water rights holders in the region. AWA was ordered to stop diverting water from the Mokelumne River under the Central Amador Water Project (CAWP) water right that allocates water to Amador's Upcountry communities.
PG&E received similar orders that could affect water supply for the Amador Water System (serving Amador cities and lower elevations of the county). AWA customers will now be served from water that was previously stored. This makes it more important than ever for all customers to “Make Every Drop Count.”
Among the many Stage 1 conservation requirements: Landscape watering is limited to nighttime hours of 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. and only three days per week, restaurants to only serve water to customers on request, no emptying and refilling swimming pools and hot tubs, and no washing sidewalks, patios, and driveways.
Reducing use will make stored water last longer. However, a 20 percent reduction in water use will also cost AWA up to half a million dollars in water sales revenue through the end of this year with very little reduction in expenses, according to AWA General Manager Larry McKenney. Directors had the option to enact a drought surcharge to cover the expected drop in water sales but decided to wait and see how the already cash-strapped agency weathers the reduction in use.
AWA's water conservation policy begins at Stage 1 – Water Alert for up to 20% conservation and ramps up to Stage 4 – Water Emergency, for a 50 percent reduction in water use. The AWA Water Code allows for graduated enforcement of mandatory conservation measures but the Agency's primary focus is customer education on the critical need to conserve water resources.
The complete list of the Stage 1 conservation requirements below can also be viewed at www.amadorwater.org.
AWA Stage 1 Water Alert Mandatory Conservation Measures
- All customers will observe practices to achieve up to a 20% reduction in their monthly water use over 2013 usage.
- Discontinue watering lawns and gardens or any other irrigation between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- Require restaurants to only serve water to customers upon request.
- All run-off and street flooding from outdoor irrigation is prohibited.
- No unattended watering except where automatic shut-off equipment is used.
- Automatic shut-off nozzles or valves are required when washing cars and other vehicles.
- Washing sidewalks, driveways, patios, parking lots, and tennis courts with water is prohibited.
- Emptying and refilling of swimming pools and hot tubs is prohibited.
- Maintaining pools, hot tubs and fire protection storage facilities at normal operating levels is permitted.
- Drinking water used in decorative fountains must be recirculated.
- Drinking water may not be used in scenic ponds and lakes except for the minimum amount needed to support existing aquatic life.
- Use of Conservation kits supplied by AWA or other water utilities
- No irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings unless by means of drip or microspray systems.
- No irrigation during and up to 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
- Fix leaks or faulty sprinklers within 7 day(s).
- Water only three days per week for turf watering when using potable water.
- Plant containers, trees, shrubs, and vegetable gardens may be watered additional days using only drip irrigation or hand watering, provided that any such drip irrigation system or hose is equipped with a working and activated automatic shut-off device.