Water woes continue to plague California. In Solvang, it's gotten to a point where Stage 1 drought conditions could be declared by next week.
"With the availability of state water so low, we want to err on the side of caution," says Matt van der Linden, Solvang Public Works Director.
Matt van der Linden says it's time for water conservation measures to be put in place. City council will decide next week whether or not to declare Stage 1 drought conditions. If they do it would set in motion a number of conservation requirements for residents and local businesses. You wouldn't get water at a restaurant unless you ask for it, and people would be asked to stop any outside watering for the majority of the day. The goal would be to cut water use by 15%.
"They're going to need to let their lawns and landscaping get a little brown," says van der Linden. "Any conservation that's done today or now will help us next year."
Solvang's primary water source comes from the California State Water Project. With the record dry conditions, the Department of Water Resources expects to be able to provide only 5% of the water that agencies around the state are asking for.
If rain is still nowhere in sight in the coming months, Solvang could take extra steps.
"If January, February, March of this year remain really dry then I would anticipate that we may even have to implement a Stage 2 drought condition in a few months," says van der Linden.
Solvang will give 2 warnings to homeowners and businesses that violate any water conservation restrictions. Each additional violation will result in a $30 fine.
According to the Solvang City Council Staff Report, these are Stage 1 drought condition requirements:
1. Voluntary water conservation by all city customers aimed at a ten percent to fifteen percent reduction in water use from the 1986 water usage.
2. Irrigation of turf such as school yards, parks, ball fields, golf courses, green spaces, etc., shall be allowed only between the hours of 7 P.M. and 7 A.M.
3. All restaurants that provide table service shall post, in a conspicuous place, a notice of drought condition and shall refrain from serving water except upon specific request by a customer.
4. Operators of hotels, motels and other commercial establishments offering lodging shall post in each room a notice of drought condition containing water conservation information.
5. Exterior sprinkler watering of plants, lawns, shrubbery, ground cover, etc., shall be permitted only between the hours of 4 P.M. and 10 A.M.
6. Vehicles shall be washed only at commercial car washing facilities or by use of a bucket and/or hose equipped with hand-operated valve.
7. The washing of hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks shall be prohibited except where necessary to protect public health and safety.
8. The loss of water through breaks or leaks in any water user's plumbing must be corrected within 24 hours of the user's knowledge of that condition.