Water & Drought

Sacramento-area water conservation at 27 percent for October

Video: Water-saving tips for your landscape

In this installment of The Sacramento Bee's Water-Wise Homeowners video series, landscape architect Donna Dowson teaches drought-conscious homeowners when and how to adjust landscape drip irrigation systems. Brian Nguyen and Ed Fletcher, The Sacra
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In this installment of The Sacramento Bee's Water-Wise Homeowners video series, landscape architect Donna Dowson teaches drought-conscious homeowners when and how to adjust landscape drip irrigation systems. Brian Nguyen and Ed Fletcher, The Sacra

Sacramento-area residents cut their water consumption by 27 percent for the second straight month in October, the Sacramento Regional Water Authority reported Monday.

The latest figures on drought conservation mean the region has reduced water consumption by a combined 33.2 percent since June, when savings requirements were imposed by state officials, said Amy Talbot, the authority’s water-efficiency program manager. The region’s water districts, on average, must cut usage by 30 percent, as compared with two years ago, until the mandatory conservation period ends in February.

In announcing the October results, water officials urged residents to shut off sprinklers now that the rainy season has begun.

“Sacramento-area customers are continuing to do an outstanding job at conserving water,” Talbot said.

The state has ordered urban Californians to cut water consumption by a statewide average of 25 percent through February, although the mandates vary from district to district depending on historical usage patterns. Most districts in greater Sacramento have to achieve savings rates of 28 percent to 36 percent.

At least one district in the Sacramento area missed its target by a significant margin. The San Juan Water District reported a 26 percent savings rate for October, or 10 percentage points less than its mandate. Since June, the district’s cumulative savings rate has been 36.2 percent, “just barely above our required 36 percent conservation level,” said Shauna Lorance, the district’s general manager.

Officials noted that it’s comparatively easy to save water in summer by reducing outdoor watering. It becomes harder in cool weather, when most water consumption takes place indoors.

“Now that we’re into the cooler fall months when our landscapes need little water, it will be even more difficult to achieve a 36 percent reduction,” Lorance said.

Statewide figures for October will be released next week. State officials said recently that they believe water-conservation mandates will be extended through next fall, although they might not be as stringent if precipitation is heavy this winter, as expected.

Tom Gray, general manager for the Fair Oaks Water District, said November might turn out better than October. His district’s customers have reduced usage by about 40 percent so far this month, compared with 29 percent in October.

“We have had a pattern of rain about every week,” he said. This month, he said, Fair Oaks customers are doing “pretty much no irrigation at all.”

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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