The Drought is Over, Isn’t It?

BY: Mayor W. Clarke Conway, City of Brisbane,
Well actually, no it isn’t. While the reservoirs that store water for the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System are very high for this time of year, precipitation during this year’s rainy season is about 15% of the average year-to-date
The challenge with reduced amounts of rain is that we also see reduced amounts of snow. That’s not only bad for skiers and snowboarders, it’s also really bad for our water supply. Winter rains bring snow to the Sierra Nevadas, and the snowmelt in the spring and summer is the primary supply of water to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The red line in the graph below (provided by the SFPUC) shows current snowpack versus the long-term median snowpack level shown by the dark black line.
While our wholesale water supplier is not predicting mandatory reductions for this upcoming year, it is vital that all Californians accept the Governor’s message to, “Make Conservation A Way of Life”. Please help do your part, now is not the time to take your foot off the gas of conserving water. I strongly encourage everyone to follow the voluntary reduction methods listed in the City’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan:
Stop washing down paved surfaces, including but not limited to, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts or patios, except when necessary to address an immediate health, safety, or sanitation need.
Stop the application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excessive runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or other hardscapes and structures.
Do not irrigate residential and commercial landscapes between the hours of 9:00am and 6:00pm or during rain events.
Use a hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle or bucket to water landscaped areas that are not irrigated by a landscape irritation system.
Irrigate nursery and commercial grower’s products before 10:00am and after 6:00pm. Watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or a drip/micro-irrigation system. Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time. Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.
Use only re-circulated or recycled water to operate ornamental fountains.
Wash vehicles using a bucket, a hand-held hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle, a mobile high pressure/low volume wash system. Or at a commercial site that re-circulates (i.e., reclaims) water on-site.
Serve and refill water in restaurants and other food service establishments only upon request.
Offer guests in hotels, motels, and other commercial lodging establishments the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.

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