“The driest months are still to come in California, and extreme drought conditions will get worse,” said Governor Brown. “This order cuts red tape to help get water to farmers more quickly, ensure communities have safe drinking water, protect vulnerable species and prepare for an extreme fire season. I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible.”
The City of Williams is working pro-actively with water conservation efforts by adopting a resolution in response to the statewide drought; focusing efforts on water management and a reduction in use.
“This has been foremost on my mind, and at some point we have to be accountable for our actions,” said Williams Mayor, Pat Ash, “We have to start somewhere, and every little bit helps.”
The Williams Fire Department has reduced its truck washings, contributing to the cities efforts to reduce water.
“Washing off sidewalks is going to have to stop,” said Ash, “I don’t want to scare anyone, but the thought of going to the faucet or to turn on the shower and there is no water, is scary enough.”
The City of Williams sent notices on its monthly water bills, instructing residents to conserve and reduce its water usage by 20%.
“The city is not immune to the drought, and we as a city have to make cutbacks and make sacrifices,” said Williams Council-member, Angela Fulcher, “because we don’t have the option to use ‘grey-water’ to irrigate our city parks, they may yellow.”
At the same meeting, a community member, Santos Jauregui asked the city council about repairs to the sod at Venice Park, and Valley Vista Park for the upcoming spring and summer soccer season.
“I am a little reluctant about replacing or repairing the grass in the city parks at this time,” said Fulcher, “we would be spending thousands of dollars on new sod and we wouldn’t be able to water it – so it would be a waste of tax payers’ dollars at a time like this.”
With the Cities call to its citizens to reduce its water usage, the reduction will have a significant impact on the water revenue fund.
“It was calculated that the city could lose $50,000 to $70,000 in the water fund in regards to the reduction,” said Williams Finance Officer, Rex Greenbaum, “It’s quite significant for our small budget.”
The water fund provides water service and infrastructure maintenance to the City of Williams; in addition to covering pumping costs, it funds the filtration processes and materials that make the city’s water clean and potable.
Williams Council-member John Troughton Jr. added, “I don’t think people understand what kind of impact this may have. Many jobs will be effected with the drought.”
WILD FIRE SEASON AHEAD
With the hot, dry summer months ahead, the increased threat of wildfire season, CalFire is beefing up its seasonal firefighting ranks by adding several hundred seasonal firefighters on to staff at stations from the Sacramento foothills to San Diego County. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services also advises landowners to remove brush and dead, dying, or diseased trees that increase fire danger.
Governor Brown is also calling on California businesses to take specific actions to avoid wasting water; this includes limiting lawn watering and car washing. The governor also recommends that schools, parks and golf courses limit the use of potable water for irrigation, and asks that hotels and restaurants give customers options to conserve water by only serving water upon request and other measures.
Last December, the Governor, formed a Drought Task Force to manage precious water supplies, to expand water conservation wherever possible and to respond quickly to emerging drought impacts throughout the state.
In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent – visitSaveOurH2O.org to find out how everyone can do their part, and visit Drought.CA.Gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.■