City of San José issues sizeable water conservation target to address drought
In an effort to comply with the State Water Resource Control Board mandate for water conservation throughout the state of California, the San José City Council recently issued an emergency declaration of a 30-percent water savings target.
SAN JOSE, CA, April 23, 2015 -- In an effort to comply with the State Water Resource Control Board mandate for water conservation throughout the state of California, the San José City Council recently issued an emergency declaration of a 30-percent water savings target.
The city's action also calls for further water conservation to help address the effects of the past four years of severe drought. The new rules take effect immediately through March 31, 2016. San José's water restrictions only apply to potable water, not gray water (used water from baths, sinks, etc.) or recycled water.
"We're in a serious drought, which pushes us to rethink how we use water," said Kerrie Romanow, director of the San José Environmental Services Department. "We're in this together; we must all do our part to save water by taking additional steps to conserve and meet increased water conservation targets."
The new restrictions for outdoor watering include the following measures:
- If using a sprinkler system, residents and businesses can water outdoors on only two designated days and only before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
- Odd-numbered addresses may water on Mondays and Thursdays.
- Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- Properties without an address may water on Mondays and Thursdays.
- If using a hand-held hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle or a drip irrigation system, residents and businesses can water outdoors before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m., without a designated day restriction. Watering in the cooler hours of the day helps reduce evaporation and allows plants and landscape to absorb more of the water.
- If done in an efficient manner, and before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m., public parks, playing fields, day care centers, golf courses (greens only), and schools are allowed to water outdoors for maintenance; nurseries can water plants and trees for sale.
- Watering outdoors at other times is not allowed.
The emergency declaration also prohibits:
- Residents from washing cars at home with potable water. Instead, car washing can be done with gray water or at a commercial car washing facility, which uses a recirculation system.
- Refilling residential swimming pools or outdoor spas more than 1 foot and no initial filling with potable water, with the exception of existing pools that are drained to make leak repairs.
Approximately 70 percent of San José's total water use is attributed to residential use, with about 35 percent of the city's total water use attributed to residential outdoor watering. Outdoor water use is the easiest place to save water and accounts for roughly half of the average water bill.
Statewide and local precipitation has remained low this past season. In the Sierra Nevada, from where San José imports half of its water, the snow pack measurement in April was only 6 percent of average levels. Locally, the groundwater level in the city has fallen to about five to 25 feet lower than last year depending on location.