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City Council Lifts Drought Emergency Declaration and Water Use Restrictions

Post Date:06/30/2017 8:09 AM

After a winter that featured an abundance of rainfall, the City officially declared on June 20th that it is no longer in a local drought emergency.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the Council rescinded resolutions that had declared a drought emergency as well as water use restrictions. The action occurs roughly two months after Governor Brown issued an executive order ending the state of emergency in California and eliminating the state’s water use reduction requirement.

Prior to this winter, the previous five years had been the driest on record in California, due to a combination of record-breaking temperatures and below average rainfall and snowpack.

Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in January 2014, asking all Californians to reduce water consumption by 20 percent. That same year, the City adopted a resolution limiting outdoor irrigation to three days a week. In 2015, the Council declared a local drought emergency and further limited outdoor irrigation to two days a week.

But with heavy rains this past winter, storage in the City’s three reservoirs has increased significantly. This increased the resiliency of the City’s water supply and resulted in the addition of several years of stored water in the three reservoirs.

While the state and City are no longer experiencing a drought, both want to encourage long-term water conservation. Governor Brown signed an executive order in 2016 that established long-term conservation measures that would emphasize “conservation as a way of life” in California. Likewise, the City has established long-term conservation programs and policies, including prohibitions on wasteful water use and free consultations with water conservation staff. Meanwhile, the City will continue long-term school education and public outreach programs.

“For decades our community has embraced water conservation as a way of life. It has also heavily invested in ensuring it has a robust and resilient water supply portfolio,” said Utilities Director Carrie Mattingly. “Continued support of these efforts support quality of life, not just for those of us here today, but for those generations to come. It will assist us in withstanding the next drought.”

The City’s water model estimates that there is currently more than five years’ worth of water supply available. As of June 21, the water level at Salinas Reservoir, one of the City’s three water resources, was at 97 percent of capacity, while Whale Rock Reservoir was 79 percent full and Nacimiento Reservoir was up to 76 percent capacity.

CONTACT:        Mychal Boerman, Water Resources Program Manager, 805-781-7217, mboerman@slocity.org

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