In the City Newsletter that was emailed to the public on Thursday, the city reports, “The Governor and State Water Resources Control Board enacted emergency regulations to promote further water conservation. The regulations require urban water agencies to activate their Water Shortage Contingency Plans. In Davis, this would represent a Stage 3 water shortage emergency and calls for a mandatory reduction of 30%.”
The council has the item agendized for Tuesday’s council meeting. Staff recommends the council approve a resolution that would adopt mandatory water use restrictions.
These restrictions would be effective immediately and would limit watering to three days per week, require leaks be repaired within 72 hours, in addition to other water prohibitions.
- No watering outdoors between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., except with a hand-held container or hose with a shut-off nozzle, or for very short periods when adjusting a sprinkler system;
- Outdoor watering is restricted to three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for premises with odd numbered addresses and Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for premises with even numbered addresses. No outdoor watering on Monday;
- No watering during periods of rain;
- No excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement, gutters or ditches from watering or irrigating landscapes or vegetation of any kind;
- No washing down paved surfaces unless for safety or sanitation, in which case a bucket, a hose with a shut-off nozzle, a cleaning machine that recycles water or a low-volume/high-pressure water broom must be used;
- All property owners must fix leaks, breaks or malfunctions when they find them, or within 72 hours of receiving a notice from the city of Davis;
- Fountains and water features must have a re-circulating water system;
- Vehicles must be washed with a hand-held bucket and/or hose equipped with a water shut-off nozzle (does not apply to commercial car washes);
- Restaurants may not serve drinking water unless by patron’s request;
- Restaurants must use water-saving dish wash spray valves;
- No installation of non-recirculating water systems at new commercial car washes and laundry systems; and
- Hotels and motels must give guests the option to decline daily bed linen and towel changes.
Staff notes, “Enforcement will be handled in the same manner as we currently handle similar violations.”
“City water crews have door hangers which they use to inform a resident/property owner if there is a known issue, and these are generally used for first-time violations in the hopes of educating,” staff writes. “Properties with multiple or repeat complaints will receive a letter or email outlining the problem and the expected action. Finally, code compliance staff will be deployed if a problem persists.”
Back in February, following the governor’s drought proclamation, the city passed a resolution that called for a voluntary 20 percent reduction in water usage. The result of that voluntary reduction was a 14 percent reduction in water use from January to June over the same period in 2013.
On April 25, 2014, the governor issued a proclamation of a continued state of emergency under the California Emergency Services Act based on continued drought conditions. On July 28, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board enacted emergency regulations to promote further conservation.
According to city staff, the plan imposes “mandatory restrictions on outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf,” and this would represent “a Stage 3 Water Shortage emergency, which imposes mandatory water use restrictions, including limits on outside irrigation, to achieve a 30% reduction.”
Staff continues, “The State Water Resources Control Board emergency regulations also prohibit individuals from using potable water to wash driveways and sidewalks; water outdoor landscapes that cause excess runoff; wash a car with a hose without a shut-off nozzle; or operate a fountain or other decorative water feature.”
“Excess runoff includes situations where water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures. Violations are punishable by an infraction and up to a $500 fine for each day a violation occurs,” staff reports.
“The City of Davis has experienced a 54 feet drop in average water levels in their municipal wells since March 2014. This drop in static water levels in the City’s wells is seasonal and reflects the high demand on groundwater in this region of Yolo County and the impact of the ongoing drought in California,” staff writes. “Such a drop in water levels constitutes an average depth to water levels in the city of almost 100-feet-below ground level and is an event stipulated in the City’s Urban Water Management Plan to trigger water conservation.”
Last week the city reported that Davis municipal well water levels have dropped 10 feet since 2008. This year, the March to July 2014 well water levels dropped an average of 54 feet. A drop in water levels is typical in late summer. However, in the same period in 2013, wells dropped only 49 feet.
“This year’s drop in static water levels in the city’s wells is concerning and reflects the high demand on groundwater in this region of Yolo County, coupled with the impact of the ongoing drought in California,” states the City’s General Manager of Utilities, Herb Niederberger, “Such a drop in water levels triggers water conservation as stipulated in the City’s Urban Water Management Plan.
—David M. Greenwald reporting