The department's Dave Brent says the rented pumps are being installed in case the river depth drops below the 12 feet required for the city's largest pumps to operate.
"There's a design in a pump where it needs a certain water surface elevation over the top of it," says Brent. "If you get below that point, it can start cavitating which is basically drawing air in with the water and that can damage the pumps."
Brent says with Folsom Lake at historically-low levels the City will try to use as little American River water as possible.
But, the backup pumps will be ready to draw 24-million gallons-a-day if needed.
The Sacramento River pumping station is offline until March.
The city plans to have 13 million gallons per day of well water available once maintenance is complete on some city wells in the middle of February.
"The ground water in the area and in city itself is healthy," Brent says. "We've done, over the years, what we call conjunctive use, so in those wetter years, we try to utilize the river more and let the groundwater recharge. Now we're going to be more reliant on ground water."
Brent says well water could contribute 13 million gallons a day to the city supply. The Sacramento River station is expected to provide ten times that -the vast majority of the water needed this summer.
With the shift from winter to spring comes new watering limitations for Sacramento residents. To conserve water, residents are being asked to only water twice a week.
The drought has left honey bees without their normal supply of wildflowers to feed on. Beekeepers have supplemented their diet, but that lacks nutrition to keep hives healthy. CapRadio's Amy Quinton tags along with a local beekeeper to learn more.
There’s a bit more progress in the delicate dance of reaching a deal on a new California water bond proposal that would replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot. But a deal – if any – is still months away.
Many people in the Sacramento region responded to calls to conserve water, using less last month than in the previous two Februaries. Many cities have not met conservation goals.
The city of Sacramento is moving ahead with a plan to offer rebates to people who rip out their front lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant landscaping.