You may have heard your outdoor watering schedule changed as of Daylight Savings Time, and if Sacramento City is your water district -- it’s true. But that's not necessarily true for 19 other water districts in the Sacramento region, not to mention the districts in Reno, Tahoe, Stockton and Modesto.
In Carmichael, you can’t water from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. if you’re in the California American Water district you can’t water from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Sacramento Suburban Water District, the City of Sacramento and Citrus Heights all restrict users in odd-numbered houses to water Tuesdays and Saturdays and even-numbered houses to Wednesday and Sunday. In Carmichael, odds get Saturday only and evens get Sunday.
But how did this happen? We all need to conserve water during this drought, so why not all agree on a set of restriction and stick with it?
Amy Talbot with the Regional Water Authority says they tried to get everyone on the same page, but there are too many competing interests.
“It all goes back to the way the water agencies are set up and managed,” says Talbot. “Even though it collectively makes sense to have one message -- when you actually implement it it’s a lot more difficult.”
She says water agencies are a form of local government and run by elected officials, and each one has different priorities depending on their constituents and water source.
Also, drought plans were drafted decades ago. When we get to a specific stage of drought each water agency pulls out their specific water conservation plan and puts it into practice.
“[They’re] reaching similar goals, but they’ve got different situations, based on land uses, types of folks in their service area - some agencies have different shortages than others,” says Talbot.
She says the way districts restrict water usage has a lot to do with the kind of user in the district. She points to San Francisco, most users in that district don’t do a lot of outdoor watering so limiting outdoor watering wouldn’t go very far to conserve.
So yes, we’re all in this together, but with slightly different restrictions.