Guest view: Water conservation is essential

San Luis Reservoir, pictured April 30, is less than 50% full. The Merced County water body holds water from the Central Valley Project, which in normal years supplies nearby communities with nearby water. Photo: Juan Reyes

The Western United States is experiencing one of the most extensive and intense droughts on record. January through April were the driest first four months in California’s recorded history, the state’s largest reservoirs are at critically low storage levels, and the state’s snowpack level was just 12% of normal as of May 24.

Therefore, we must all make every possible effort to use water efficiently and conserve wherever possible. Water conservation will always be a way of life in California, but right now it is especially urgent. 

The City of Hollister, City of San Juan Bautista, Sunnyslope County Water District and the San Benito County Water District all passed resolutions to enact Stage II of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans. These are mandatory water conservation measures. The goal is to achieve a 25% reduction of water use compared to pre-drought usage. Most of these water conservation measures focus on outside water use. 

Residents who get their water from the City of Hollister, City of San Juan Bautista or Sunnyslope County Water District will be receiving inserts with their May bills that outline the water conservation measures. 

The most notable water conservation measures involve landscape irrigation, which will be limited to two times per week. In the Hollister Urban Area, odd numbered addresses are restricted to irrigating on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and even numbered addresses will be limited to Wednesdays and Sundays. San Juan Bautista will restrict landscape irrigation to Mondays and Thursdays only. Landscape irrigation must be controlled to ensure no water leaves the property to streets or sidewalks. 

The other notable mandatory conservation measure is to refrain from hosing down walkways and driveways—a broom should be used instead.

The City’s Code Enforcement team will be patrolling looking for violators. Fines range from $100-$500 for not complying with the water conservation measures.

The Water Resources Association San Benito County offers informational assistance to residents with questions on how to comply with the mandatory conservation measures. They also offer a free service where a technician can be scheduled to visit your property and make necessary adjustments to your irrigation controller to ensure compliance with the mandatory water conservation measures.

The Water Resources Association San Benito County can be reached by phone at 831.637.4378 or you may visit their website at www.wrasbc.org.   

The Water Resources Association may also be contacted for a free leak check and/or other irrigation assistance as well. 

Contact them today to make sure you are water wise and complying with the water conservation measures. 

Shawn O. Novack is Water Conservation Program Manager for the Water Resources Association San Benito County and San Benito County Water District.