It’s Time to Reduce Sprinklers Significantly, Water Providers Say
SACRAMENTO– Sacramento-area residents conserved 27 percent in September compared to the same month in 2013, according to an analysis by the Regional Water Authority (RWA), which represents water providers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties. The findings come from a review of September water use data submitted to RWA and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board).
“Local residents are continuing to do their part to conserve, exceeding the Governor’s mandate to reduce water use statewide by 25 percent, said RWA Water Efficiency Program Manager Amy Talbot. This savings comes on top of the very high conservation reductions over the summer.”
June through August, the Sacramento region averaged a 36 percent conservation rate compared to the same timeframe in 2013.
“This level of conservation saved a significant amount of water that will help carry us through the fall and winter months when conservation is typically more challenging,” Talbot said.
This is especially true for the Sacramento region as summer water use is typically double that of winter water use due to the region’s higher temperatures and lack of summertime precipitation.The opportunity to save water outdoors diminishes as the weather transitions.
Last year, for example, the Sacramento region saved 13.9 billion gallons of water from June through September 2014 compared to the same months in 2013. This year, the Sacramento region saved 27.4 billion gallons of water from June through September 2015 compared to the same months in 2013, more than doubling savings from 2014. “This year’s summer savings equates to 5 billion gallons more than the entire region’s total water use from January through March of 2013,” Talbot said.
While September conservation is significant, it does reflect a seasonal trend in savings also experienced last year under voluntary conservation. In 2014, savings dipped about 6 percentage points August to September (from 22 percent in August to 16 percent in September) and then rebounded again for the rest of the year.
As days become shorter and cooler, RWA and local water providers are asking customers to reduce landscape watering significantly, following their water provider’s guidelines.
“It’s common this time of year for people to continue watering their landscapes on a summer schedule,” Talbot said. “Instead, they should be transitioning to the new season by reducing watering times significantly. It might still be hot outside at times, but fall’s shorter days and increased moisture in the air mean that landscapes really need less water.”
Many Sacramento-area water providers have been urging customers to cut landscape watering to one day per week this fall. In the Sacramento region, most household water use occurs outdoors. Reducing landscape water use is critical to reaching ambitious state-mandated conservation targets, which range from 20 to 36 percent for local water providers.
“It’s crunch time,” Talbot said. “Now is the time to squeeze as much savings as possible from landscape watering before the rainy season begins and savings must be gleaned from indoor conservation actions.”
It’s typically more difficult to keep up the same level of conservation during the winter months, because the bulk of the savings no longer comes from landscape watering as people turn off their sprinklers systems during the rainy season.
Water-conserving tips include:
- Reduce landscape watering significantly, following your water provider’s guidelines, but take steps to save trees. (Tips for helping trees endure the drought are available here.)
- Make a longer-term investment in water efficiency by replacing lawn with low-water use plants and efficient drip irrigation.
- Add two to three inches of organic mulch around trees and plants to conserve soil moisture.
- Water your yard early in the morning to reduce evaporation, following your water provider’s guidelines.
- Adjust sprinklers to avoid overspray and runoff.
Additional water-wise tips, plus information about rebates and free services to help residents use less water, are available at BeWaterSmart.info.
About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing two dozen water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento area. Its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.