Local water usage down by a million gallons per day
Over the last year, Paso Robles water customers have collectively reduced their water usage by nearly one million gallons of water per day, Paso Robles Water Resources Manager Christopher Alakel says. Compared to 2007, the drop is even more dramatic. Paso Robles water customers are using 2.5 million gallons per day less than that peak year.
In September of this year, the average daily water usage in town was 6.89 million gallons. In September 2013, the daily average was 7.86 million gallons and in September 2007, the daily average was 9.17 million gallons. The peak month for all years on record is July. This July, the daily average was 7.89 million gallons;, compared to 8.63 million in 2013 and 10.87 in 2007.
“There are a number of things that have driven down the water [usage] in the city,” Alakel says.
He says that the city peaked in 2007, which was before the city instituted mandated watering restrictions, offered rebates for converting turf to drought-resistant landscaping, and rising water rates. For this water year, Alakel says the city was considering lifting the outdoor watering restrictions, but kept them when Gov. Jerry Brown called for a 20 percent reduction in water usage.
“We kept restrictions in place to comply with that call,” Alakel said. “A lot of it’s going to depend [on if it rains]. If we don’t get rain this year we’ll do everything we can to conserve.”
He says that reduction in water usage is in large part due to the city’s water conservation efforts. He said that once the Lake Nacimiento water treatment plant is up and running by next summer, the city will not have the supply issue it has now. However, he said that the city will comply with any restrictions the governor calls for in the next water year. The Paso Robles City Council passed the Water Conservation and Water Shortage Contingency Plan on June 16, 2009, to address the growing water usage.
The city is continuing its rebate program, which returns 50 cents per square foot of turf removed up to $500 to Paso Robles city water customers who convert turf to drought tolerant landscaping. Paso Robles Water Conservation Manager Keith Larson said that in order to get the rebate, the costumer needs to have his or her lawn assessed and get enrolled in the program before any work is done on their lawn.
“People are really thinking twice about what they put into their lawns,” Alakel says.
Larson said the city is also hosting workshops about how to transition from turf to drought tolerant landscaping. For more information, go to www.pasowater.com. The city also has conservation tips on its website.