[BAY FEATURE]Bay Area Drought Watch

BAY FEATURE

Coverage of California's looming water problem

Drought Watch: Homeowners Not Conserving Enough Water

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    NEWSLETTERS

    California homeowners have been asked to conserve water, but a new report released Friday says Santa Clara County homeowners have used more this summer than they did in the spring. Michelle Roberts reports. (Published Friday, Aug 22, 2014)

    California homeowners have been asked to conserve water, but a new report released Friday says Santa Clara County homeowners have used more this summer than they did in the spring. Now, San Jose is considering a proposal that would let much of the grass on city land turn brown.

    In January, Gov. Jerry Brown called for a 20 percent water reduction, statewide. A new report says people in the South Bay are failing to meet that goal and are going in the wrong direction.

    “We’re already seeing ground water levels drop in this county,” said Marty Grimes, of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, who adds that his agency receive calls every day from neighbors reporting water wasters.

    Dramatic Photos of California's Drought Dramatic Photos of California's Drought

    Grimes said some just aren’t getting it. “This is the time in the summer when we have the opportunity to save the most water and we’re not reaching that goal.” The goal is 20 percent. In April, homeowners in Santa Clara County saved 13 percent. In May, they saved 12 percent. In June and July: only 11 percent.

    “We either need to see the end of the drought, or we need to save more water,” Grimes said.

    That’s what San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo said he is trying to do. “Where we’ve got decorative lawns, they should probably go the way of the dinosaur,” Liccardo said.

    On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council will vote on a proposal that will essentially turn off the sprinklers that water grassy areas on medians and in front of city buildings. “We’re in a drought,” Liccardo said. “I think people understand that this is time for all of us to do our part.”

    Homeowners can get rebates through the water district for planting native vegetation. Water officials are trying to extend the rebate program through the fall.

    CUT-BACK DETAILS
    In the South Bay and on the Peninsula, water districts are asking customers to cut back their water usage by 20 percent.

    In the East Bay, where most people get their water from the East Bay Municipal Utility District, they're asking for a 10 percent reduction.

    People who live in San Francisco are also being asked to cut back their water use by 10 percent.