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The 25% reduction is measured against the same month's water use from the year 2013. A thirteenth month has been added to your water bill so this comparison can be made.
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This stage is voluntary, however, the City retains the right to enforce our Municipal Code when water is blatantly wasted. For the majority of water customers, the city is expecting them to self-monitor their water use and to continue doing the best they can to save water. Fines and/or shut-off of services will only happen for blatant water wasters who will be notified by phone or door hanger of any infraction; upon continued waste, they will be notified by letter warning of possible shut-off of services.
Stage 1 is voluntary and unmonitored. The code enforcement procedures will only be applied to those customers that blatantly waste water. Therefore, for customers already conserving, the city asks that you continue to save water and look for additional ways to reduce water use further.
If the target savings are not achieved, the city may enact Stage 2 (mandatory and unmonitored) or Stage 3 Mandatory Reductions which is monitored and would allocate 65 gallons per person per day to each property. Stage 3 is equitable so long as there is an accurate count of the number of people per house. However, this method is extremely time-consuming to administer. It requires daily or weekly monitoring of each customer's water use and enforcement on a larger number of customers.
We are asking everyone to conserve. Take a look at several months of your usage, take the average and reduce that by 25%.
The city is requiring all customers to limit their irrigation to the evening hours and on the even/odd schedule shown on our Stage 1 Water Conservation page.
If you wish to turn off your irrigation and let your lawn brown this summer you can preserve the turf by avoiding walking on the grass which could damage or kill the grass. If the drought persists, the City Council may consider passing a resolution to enact Stage 2 or Stage 3 water conservation measures.
Governor Jerry Brown has issued an Executive Order requiring a mandatory 25% reduction in residential and commercial water use. Even with a "miracle March" water conservation is still needed.
The year 2013 was the driest year in over 400 years and the entire state remains in a water shortage crisis. To protect from continued dry years, the city installed a new well in August 2013, two additional wells were brought on-line in July 2014, and a new storage tank will be completed in 2015. These new wells are not projected to "dry up" because they draw deep down from the underflow of the Russian River.
The city has extensively studied upgrading its waste-water treatment plant. Installing dual system piping and constructing large reservoirs to hold recycled water is estimated to cost over $60 million dollars which is beyond the city's means at this time.