The City of Sacramento is now under a mandatory water reduction order, approved by the Sacramento City Council Tuesday night.
Dave Brent from the City Department of Utilities says the volume of water in Folsom Lake is at an historic low -- well below that of the 1976-77 drought.
"The American River watershed is the most critical watershed at the time," he says. "It's a statewide drought, yet the American River is really in a crisis mode as we speak."
The City Council voted 8 to 0 to implement "Stage Two" drought measures that include one-day-a-week lawn watering until early March and fines for wasting water that could run up to $1,000.
By summer, the City hopes to see a reduction of 30 million gallons of water use per day.
The city plans to use Sacramento River water and ground water to get through the summer. The Sacramento River pump station won't be operational until March.
Brent says the city is also in "crisis mode."
"We've established a drought response team just as we would a flood event," he says. "We're going to have an incident command structure with an incident commander, a planning section, a operation section, finance, public outreach."
Brent says people seem to be taking the water crisis seriously.
The city has received more than 300 reports of water leaks or instances of water being wasted this year. At this time last year, the city had received 14 reports.
- Turn off faucet while brushing teeth (2.5 gallons per minute)
- Turn off faucet while washing dishes (2.5 gallons per minute)
- Taking shorter showers (2.5 gallons per minute)
- Run washing machine only when full (15-50 gallons per load). Rebates available i fa resident upgrades to high efficiency washing machine.
- Adding an aerator to sink faucet (5 gallons per day)
- Replacing toilets with a high-efficiency model (1.28 gallons or less per flush) saves approximately 5.5 gallons of water per flush (the City has rebates for customers who replace their toilets as well)
- Fill the bathtub halfway or less (12.5 gallons)
- Fix leaky faucets (15-20 gallons per leak) and leaky toilets (20-50 gallons per day per toilet)
- Following the City’s one-day-a-week watering rule this winter, which means you can water your lawn on Saturday or Sunday only (more than 500 gallons per week)
- Using irrigation before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. on your watering day (20-25 gallons per watering day)
- Adjusting sprinklers to prevent overspray and water waste (15-25 gallons per watering day)
- Repairing irrigation leaks or broken sprinkler heads (20 gallons per day)
- Use a broom instead of water to clean driveways, sidewalks and paties (8-18 gallons per minute)
- Get an auto shut-off nozzle for your hose (8-18 gallons per minute)
State of Drought Coverage
California regulators are responding to the drought by adopting tighter landscaping rules for new construction and renovation. That means new water limits for residential, commercial, school and hospital lawns and other plantings.
A University of the Pacific economic forecast shows that drought has had a "relatively mild" impact on California's economy.
Another water district in Sacramento County is offering cash rebates for customers to remove grass.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and meteorologists in other countries show that strong-to-moderate El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific. But it won't end the drought in California.
Stream fishing around Lake Tahoe and western Nevada is struggling because of the drought. But fishing may actually be better at the lake itself.