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July 24, 2021

Local water customers asked to cut back

Water supplies limited as drought continues

Due to the ongoing drought that will likely impact water supplies in the coming months, San Benito County water authorities are asking water customers for the cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista, as well as the Sunnyslope County Water District, to cut back on their usage.

The “Stage 1 – Voluntary Water Conservation” advisory includes a special focus on landscape irrigation, which typically accounts for more than 50% of residential water use in the summer, according to a press release from the Water Resources Association of San Benito County.

In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation directing state agencies to take immediate action to bolster drought resilience across the state. He declared a state of emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties due to severe drought conditions.

On May 10, Newsom expanded his April drought emergency proclamation. In total, 41 counties are now under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population. The expanded drought emergency proclamation added San Benito County.

Also in April, the Bureau of Reclamation’s initial water allocation was for 50% of San Benito County Water District’s contracted amount for municipal and industrial water that is imported into the county, according to the WRASBC press release. Then, in one month the allocation was slashed to 25% due to unprecedented hydrological conditions.

On a brighter note, San Benito County is in better shape than others in California, the press release adds. The county’s groundwater basin is a source of local water supply for municipal, agricultural and commercial customers. It also provides “emergency water storage” for urban customers.

“There are multiple challenges to maintaining and ensuring groundwater sustainability, including increasing uncertainty about the future availability of imported water, particularly with climate variability and with competing demands from overdrafted basins elsewhere,” says the press release. “In fact, during the last drought locally observed groundwater levels dropped. With a couple of years of significant rain and large allocations of imported water we have seen resiliency in our basin as water levels have risen to where the basin is almost full again. This really underscores the importance of imported water to our county.”

The WRASBC offered the following recommendations for municipal customers under the voluntary water conservation advisory:

– Watering or irrigating of lawn, landscape or other vegetated area with potable water is discouraged between 9am and 5pm

– Watering or irrigating of lawn, landscape or other vegetated for a duration of 15 minutes watering per water day per station

– Eliminate excessive water flow or runoff

– Discourage washing down hard or paved surfaces

– Fix leaks, breaks or malfunctions

– Recirculate water for water fountains and decorative water features

– Washing vehicles: Using water to wash or clean a vehicle is discouraged, except by use of a hand-held bucket or similar container or a hand-held hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off nozzle or device. Washing vehicles at commercial conveyor car wash systems with recirculating water systems is recommended

– Drinking water served upon request

– Restaurants encouraged to use water conserving dishwasher spray valves

– It is recommended that all existing pools use a pool cover or solar blanket to reduce water loss due to evaporation.

The WRASBC represents the cities of San Juan Bautista and Hollister, as well as the Sunnyslope district and the San Benito County Water District for water conservation programs. The WRASBC offers a variety of resources for customers to help cut their water usage.

Call the WRASBC at 831.637.4378 or visit www.wrasbc.org for rebates and water saving ideas.

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