Bay Area drought

Santa Rosa City Leaders Approve Mandatory 20% Cut in Water Use

The move mandates a community-wide 20% reduction in water use, effective immediately

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The Santa Rosa City Council voted Tuesday to declare a water shortage emergency and adopt Stage 3 of the city's water shortage contingency plan.

The move mandates a community-wide 20% reduction in water use, effective immediately.

The action follows a state order allowing Santa Rosa water supplier Sonoma Water to reduce water releases from Lake Sonoma into the Russian River to protect the region's dwindling water supply.

The state order requires Sonoma Water to reduce diversions from the Russian River by 20%, compared to 2018, from July to December. That reduction means less water available to Sonoma Water's customers, including Santa Rosa.

"For Santa Rosa residents and businesses, this means there will be an immediate shortage of water availability beginning July 1, 2021, and necessitates the need for council to consider adoption of additional restrictions and prohibitions on water use," the city said Monday, in a press release.

The Santa Rosa City Council will consider Tuesday whether to declare a water shortage emergency and adopt Stage 3 of the city's water shortage contingency plan. Kari Hall and Cierra Johnson report.

Enacting stage 3 of the city's water plan also prohibits water waste due to "breaks, leaks or excess use," including leaking faucets, toilets, appliances, irrigation pipes and valves, broken sprinklers and runoff due to overwatering or misdirected sprinklers.

Using potable water for washing hard surfaces like sidewalks, driveways and patios would be prohibited except in case of human health and safety. Same for pressure washing.

Shut-off nozzles are now required for hoses. Restaurants are only allowed to serve water upon request. Lodging establishments are required to provide messages about wasting water and only wash linens upon request.

Landscape irrigation are permitted only between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The council adopted voluntary 20% reductions in May. More information on saving water and available resources can be found at srcity.org/SaveWater.

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