SAN BENITO COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV)-- California's drought emergency is no secret and seemingly has no end in sight.
To combat this, San Benito County will be implementing water restrictions beginning in June to make sure water is available after the county was told it would not receive any water from the San Luis Reservoir. The reservoir is currently at 47% capacity.
"It comes on the heels of our dry January and February," said Shawn Novack, a water conservation manager with the Water Resources Association of San Benito County. "One of the water supplies that we get is from the Central Valley, which is through the federal government, and they notified us in April that not only was our agriculture contract, we got zero allocation from that, but also municipal and industrial for the cities, we got zero allocation for that. So we got no water coming through that system."
Fortunately, San Benito County has groundwater reservoirs to fall back on. Still, due to the unpredictable nature of rain and weather, there is no indication of what they will have available daily.
"All the reservoirs have such little water in them right now," said Novack. "We're just trying to stretch our water supply as much as possible because we don't know when the drought will end."
The outdoor water restrictions are as follows due to the Stage II water conservation regulations:
- For Sunnyslope County WD and City of Hollister customers, landscape watering shall be limited and restricted to no more than two (2) days per week. Odd-numbered addresses are now restricted to watering on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Even-numbered addresses are hereby restricted to watering on Wednesdays and Sundays. San Juan Bautista customers are limited to landscape watering on Monday and Thursday ONLY.
- No watering of landscaping between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. by means other than drip irrigation or hand watering with a quick-acting positive shut-off nozzle.
- No washing down sidewalks, driveways, or other hardscape surfaces.
- No watering landscape in a manner that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, or parking lots.
- No washing of cars without a quick-acting, positive shutoff nozzle.
- There is no operation of decorative fountains or other water features unless the water is recirculated.
Novack said while they are implementing fines that could get expensive if people don't comply, the goal is to create understanding and awareness to get the community to do its part in the drought.
"Our community is very connected to Mother Nature through our farming community. People stepped up when the state mandated we cut back water usage in 2015," Novack said. "We actually had a combined effort and reduced our usage by 28%."
The following penalties would be implemented if people violate the water reduction mandates:
- First Violation - written notice with an opportunity to correct the violation.
- Second Violation - $100 penalty for a violation within 12 months of First Violation.
- Third Violation - $250 penalty for a violation within 12 months of Second Violation
- Fourth Violation - $500 penalty and installation of a flow restrictor at the water meter at the customer’s expense for each and every violation within 12 months of a Third Violation.