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Sacramento Area Water Conservation Rate 11 Percent In January

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Snow in the Sierra Nevada in November 2015. After four years of drought, California desperately needs snowpack. On February 22, 2016, the statewide Sierra snowpack was 94 percent of average.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento Regional Water Authority says the Sacramento region reduced use by 11 percent in January 2016 compared with January 2013.

Amy Talbot, RWA water efficiency program manager, says it's harder to get more savings in the winter months because the "indoor savings are more in your face." 

"With limited opportunities to further reduce water use outdoors, people have to squeeze their savings from indoor conservation, which is a much more difficult task," she says.

But Talbot says the Sacramento region reduced use by 30 percent overall in 2015 compared with 2013.

The RWA represents water providers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties.


Folsom Reservoir 101515 P.jpg

Folsom Lake is one of the major reservoirs in northern California where capacity improved as a result of frequent storms in January 2016.  Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio


On Feb. 2, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted a revised and extended emergency conservation regulation, which will ease the requirement for some of the water providers the RWA represents.  The water agencies would get "credits" for climate and population growth.

Under the revised regulation, statewide water conservation is expected to exceed 20 percent compared to 2013 water use. But, water board officials say the savings rate won't likely achieve the previously mandated 25 percent.

"The conservation standards for the Sacramento region now ranges from 20 to 36 percent," says Talbot. 

Talbot says conservation is still critical after four-years of drought.

"While conditions have improved, most of the state is in an extreme drought or worse, and a statewide drought emergency remains in place along with mandatory conservation measures," says Talbot.

California Governor Jerry Brown has called for extending water cutbacks through October 2016 if the drought continues.

February hasn't been much help, with record high temperatures and extended dry periods throughout the state.

022216 SNOWPACK Capture.jpg

The Sierra Nevada snowpack on Feb. 22 was 94 percent of average statewide.

Major reservoirs, while improved, are still mostly below historical average to date. The three largest reservoirs in California, as of Feb. 21, are below capacity and historical average.


022216 Reservoirs Capture2.PNG

Lake Shasta is 58 percent of capacity to date and 82 percent of historical average; Lake Oroville is 50 percent of capacity and 74 percent of historical average; and Trinity Lake is 33 percent of capacity and 46 percent of historical average.  (In Sacramento County, Folsom Lake is 65 percent of capacity and 118 percent of historical average.)

The RWA suggests these water-saving tips for winter: 

  • Keep sprinklers off until spring: With winter’s shorter and rainy days, landscapes typically doesn’t need any extra water. 
  • Replace older, water-wasting fixtures and appliances with high-efficiency models. This is especially true for toilets, clothes washers and showerheads, which together account for the majority of indoor water use. Remember to look for the WaterSense label. 
  • Check plumbing and appliances for leaks and fix them within 48 hours. Steady faucet drips and running toilets are common sources of leaks that can waste thousands of gallons of water each month. Fixing them can be as simple as replacing a washer or toilet flapper. When you find leaks, be sure to turn off water to the problem area until it can be repaired. 

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