Sacramento Region Reduces Water Use 23 Percent in April

Water Providers Ramp Up Services and Programs to Help Customers Conserve

SACRAMENTO–Sacramento-area residents reduced their water use by 23 percent in April 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 April water use data submitted to RWA and the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water
Board).

“This is the best conservation rate we’ve seen this year, ” said Amy Talbot, RWA’s Water Efficiency Program Manager. “Residents are doing a great job. But we must continue conserving–we have a long way to go to reach the conservation targets set for our community.”

In April, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order mandating all Californians to reduce water use. The State Water Board, which is charged with implementing the Governor’s Executive Order, set mandatory water conservation targets for California’s communities. In the Sacramento region, targets range from 20 percent to 36 percent.

Many water providers throughout the region have ramped up their existing services and programs to help customers conserve, doubling and tripling the amount of funding available compared to previous years. In some cases these are incentive programs water providers have offered for years, while others are adding new programs Expanded or new incentive programs added since April include:

  • Turf Replacement (“Cash for Grass”) for replacing thirsty lawn with low-water use plants.
  • Irrigation Efficiency Upgrades for replacing existing spray sprinklers with more efficient rotary nozzles and drip irrigation systems.
  • Pool Covers, which can reduce evaporation from pools by up to 95 percent.
  • Rain Sensors to automatically turn off sprinkler systems during rain.
  • Recirculating Hot Water Pumps to deliver hot water on demand.
  • WaterSense-Labeled Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers to install a “smart” sprinkler controller that adjusts watering schedules according to the weather.

At the same time, many water providers have increased limits on landscape watering days and times. In the Sacramento region, most water use–and water waste–occurs outdoors. Limiting landscape watering represents the greatest potential to yield significant water savings over the summer months. The majority of water suppliers in the region are limiting watering days to two days or less.

“Our greatest opportunity to conserve lies in the summer months ahead,” Talbot said. “Residents last year were able to achieve significant water savings by limiting landscape watering during the summer.”

Residents should prioritize their landscape, placing the lowest value on lawn and highest value on trees and plants, Talbot said. “Remember that lawn can turn golden and eventually recover. Trees, however, can be lost forever and have multiple benefits.”

More information about watering guidelines and new rebate programs, as well as tips for reducing water use while helping landscapes and trees endure the drought, 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.