BENICIA – May 1, 2014
On Tuesday, April 29 the Benicia City Council approved a resolution urging customers to voluntarily reduce their water use in light of California's serious drought and its impact on Benicia's water supplies.
The unanimous vote to pass the resolution adds heft to the water conservation program Council Members passed February 18, 2014, which establishes a goal of reducing treated water consumption by 20 percent.
"We're hoping that the resolution serves as an important reminder for Benicia residents," said Mayor Elizabeth Patterson. "The need to conserve water is urgent, and everyone needs to do their part to reduce water use."
California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record, and the governor has declared a statewide drought emergency. Officials who operate the State Water Project, which typically delivers 85 percent of Benicia's water supply, announced in January that zero supply would be provided. In April, the State announced that very limited amounts might be available at limited times and amounts.
"The supply situation remains very uncertain, especially if the drought continues into 2015," said City Manager, Brad Kilger. "Though Benicia has access to some alternate water supplies, water conservation will be essential to prolonging the City's water supplies through what is expected to be a hot, dry summer."
The water conservation message is especially important as temperatures rise and the irrigation season ramps up, said Water Quality Technician David Wenslawski.
"More than 50 percent of a household's water use occurs in landscaping. Of that, about 30 percent is lost to overwatering and evaporation," Wenslawski said. "There are lots of ways to save water at home, but reducing water use outdoors can make the biggest difference of all."
Some of the easy actions residents can take immediately include:
- Dialing back sprinklers by two minutes--most people overwater their lawn and find that reducing watering times can improve plant health.
- Watering early in the morning or later at night to reduce evaporation-- this allows water to soak into the soil before evaporation from sun and wind can whisk it away.
- Changing your sprinkler timer at least monthly and according to the weather--if you set your timer once and let it run all season, you will waste water and potentially hurt your plants.
- Adjusting sprinklers to prevent overspray and runoff-- stop overspray by simply redirecting any misaligned sprinklers back to watering the lawn, and stop runoff by running sprinklers in several shorter cycles, leaving time in between to allow water to soak into the soil.
The City of Benicia is launching a comprehensive public outreach program to educate residents about the need to conserve and the actions they can take. In addition, Benicia is offering free services and rebates to help residents use less water. These include rebates for toilets and clothes washers, for upgrading water-wasting sprinklers and controllers and for replacing thirsty lawn with low-water use plants. The City also offers free consultations for both residential and business customers with tailored information on how they can specifically use less water in the home and at work.
Residents can learn more water saving tips and information about free services and rebates at BeniciaSavesWater.org.