The City of Fresno has taken huge steps in reducing its water waste. The California drought became all too real for Fresno residents when reservoir water levels became dangerously low. To help combat the issue, many in the area cut back on how often and when they water their lawns.
The majority of Fresno’s water comes from underground reservoirs, while a small percentage comes from imported water that is stored. Fresno began addressing the California drought in their community last summer when reservoir levels became severely low – and one was empty. One of the groundwater reservoirs dropped four feet and one holding imported water dropped below 50 percent.
In order to identify water wasters, the City took active measures. City officials went through water meter numbers to identify who was using the highest percentage of water. They began talking to residents about how to conserve water, both through drought-friendly landscaping consulting and adjusting water sprinklers and timers.
To help ease the burden of dealing with the California drought, City officials began a campaign to educate its residents on ways of saving water and cutting their overall usage. One way to help combat the problem was utilizing water monitors who do nothing but identify water wasters.
City officials also created one important rule: when homeowners are able to water their landscape. Residents with even-numbered addresses are allowed to water their lawns on Wednesdays and Sundays before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Odd-numbered houses can water their lawns on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
Water monitors take pictures of a violation, discuss the violation with the resident and, in some cases, fine the homeowner for using too much water. When a homeowner receives their first violation, they are given a verbal warning. Every violation after that is $45. After four violations, the City has the ability to turn the homeowner’s water off.
According to a report by The Los Angeles Times, 347 of the 838 state’s water penalties issued in May came from Fresno.
So far, the City of Fresno cut back its consumption by 33% in May. Governor Brown’s restrictions call for a mandatory cut back of 25% across the state.
Thomas Esqueda, Fresno’s public utilities director, is confident the city can continue keeping its water consumption low.