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City of Davis Water Conservation Continues

Post Date:June 22, 2020 11:25 am
The City of Davis announced today that due to recent State actions, surface water availability for the City will be reduced in the months ahead, which will mean more significant use of City groundwater resources during the summer months. While this action does not impact the availability of water for City water customers, the community is encouraged to continue to conserve water whenever possible, especially when irrigating outdoor landscapes.
 
Water-waste prohibitions set during the most recent drought remain in effect for the City of Davis, as in past years. Irrigation systems should be checked to ensure that the use of the systems is within permitted uses. Water-use restrictions include no watering outdoors between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., no watering during periods of rain or for 48 hours after measurable rainfall, and no excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement. Visit SaveDavisWater.org for the full list of water-use restrictions.
 
What Action Has the State Taken?
Water resources in California are generally shared among many users and are carefully monitored to protect both water quality and availability. In Northern California, the City of Davis receives “surface” water (water from the Sacramento River), which is delivered to water customers after treatment at the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency (WDCWA) Treatment Plant. This surface water augments the City’s existing groundwater supply, and since the completion of the surface water plant in 2016, accounts for the majority percentage of water customers receive in Davis. Surface water use and availability is largely tied to the Delta region, and there are monitoring policies and actions in effect to protect this resource. The State has determined that the conditions within the Delta region require curtailments to occur. This action taken by the State and by participating jurisdictions is aimed at preventing significant impacts to water supplies or the environment.
 
The action available to the State is to place a stop on water diversion called a “Term 91,” so named as it is one of the terms of the contract for certain water rights that each agency signs when receiving water. The State Water Resources Control Board has determined that Term 91 is now in effect for users of the water from the Delta watershed. This means users that divert water for use from the watershed (like WDCWA) must stop diverting under the water right the agency has, as conditions in the watershed threaten water quality objectives. Term 91 curtailments happen in the summer months of a majority of years. Since the City has been delivering surface water, there have been curtailments in 2016 and 2018. Planning for Term 91 was built into the operations of WDCWA. The agency purchased additional water rights not subject to Term 91 for use by WDCWA partners during the summer months when Term 91 is most common.
 
What Does This Mean for the Water Supply?
The City has a conjunctive-use system utilizing both surface and groundwater resources and will supplement the water needed to meet local demand with our deep aquifer groundwater wells. The water restrictions implemented by the State only apply to the surface water that the City receives from the Sacramento River.
 
Does This Mean There’s a Drought?
Not at this time, but in California drought conditions are often cyclical, and by continuing to make water conservation a way of life, we can all help to prevent the need for future drought declarations by maintaining our water supplies. Many water customers in Davis instituted long-term changes in their water use in recent years by replacing turf areas with low water-use plantings, replacing older appliances and fixtures with more water and energy efficient models, and making changes in everyday water-use habits.
 
The recent shelter-in-place orders due to the global COVID-19 pandemic has increased indoor water use in recent months, likely for essential uses such as increased hand washing, sanitation and clothes washing. With no rain in February, and less than average rain in March, many people may have also noticed an increase in their water usage for the spring months due to the need for irrigation. While we have seen an uptick in water use in recent months, overall Davis water customers continue to be conservation-minded, and these ongoing efforts to conserve water make a difference.
 
For More Information Contact:
Stan Gryczko
Public Works Utilities and Operations Director
(530) 757-5686
pwweb@cityofdavis.org