Davis encourages community members to reduce individual water use by 90 gallons a day
On April 1, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that will require the state of California to reduce water usage by 25 percent by February 2016. Taking part in this mandate, the City of Davis asks that each household eliminates 90 or more gallons from their daily water usage.
According to Donna Gentile, administrative coordinator at the Water Resources Association of Yolo County, each California city is expected to take water conservation into their own hands. Getting the word out about reducing in urban water use, lies in the hands of individual districts.
“The state of California has been put on notice to try to get everybody to be aware of their water use. It is up to each of the cities or counties to decide how they’re going to enforce that or how they’re going to put that information out to their constituents,” Gentile said.
Based on a list of mandatory water restrictions produced by the City of Davis, water saving methods include fixing leaks, adjusting sprinkler systems, watering plants late at night or early in the morning and placing mulch around trees and other plants. The city’s goal is an overall reduction of 28 percent, exceeding the state’s mandate.
“[The City of Davis] has been regulating water use in different ways,” said Sam Sandoval, a hydrologist and UC Davis faculty member in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. “Instead of letting every person water their lawn everyday, now it is restricted to every other day. [Another] thing is communication through letters and emails. Now, [people] can register with the City of Davis and every two months they will send you how much water you are [using when] compared to your neighbors.”
According to Sandoval, community members are quite compliant when it comes to saving water. Most often, it is apartment complexes that violate water mandates, over people who water lawns or use irrigation systems during the day.
Max Stevenson, assistant general manager at the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, said that farmers in Yolo County are also changing their methods of irrigation when it comes to water shortages.
“The main difference [for farmers during the drought] is pumping groundwater [from wells] instead of relying on surface water,” Stevenson said.
Whether urban or agricultural, few parties are exempt from adjustments in water use. Davis’ efforts to reduce water usage are in line with the state’s goals, while online campaigns, pamphlets and fliers are highlighting the need for the 28 percent reduction target.