After the passage of more than seven months from the start of the California drought, it has been officially declared in San Jose that the city is facing shortage of water. The one million residents of the city have been asked to bring down their use of water by around 20 percent. However, those who do not abide by this regulation would not have to face any consequences.
This drought declaration was unanimously approved by the San Jose City Council on Tuesday. According to the declaration, for property owners, it would be illegal to indulge in landscaping or irrigation of their lawns using potable water during the period from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the month of April in 2015. This declaration comes over a number of regional and state rules which are already in effect. Some of these include restrictions in cleaning vehicles without using a nozzle with hose shut-off facility and filling decorative fountains that are ‘non-recirculating’ with drinkable water.
Apart from this, the council looks forward to work together with regional water officials for exploration of a new recycled water facility as well as creation of a novel program that would reward water savers along with hiring teens for a fresh campaign aimed at helping property owners.
As California faces its worst drought in forty years, the state rules that came into existence last month make it mandatory for water agencies to limit the use of water. The water agencies have been empowered to punish offenders through extracting fines amounting up to $500. However, the new rules would not be enforced in the city of San Jose in an independent manner. In place of that, support would be provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District, which is already in the process of hiring ten “water cops” in order to crack down upon those people who are involved in abusing drought restrictions that are coming to effect from next month.
San Jose is not yet ready to get started with fining water wasters, unlike a small portion of California cities, like Santa Cruz, Pleasanton and Sacramento. On the other hand, the city is laying its focus on education, with the hope that residents would voluntarily abide by the newly imposed rules following a fresh session of outreach regarding what can be done for cutting down the usage of water.
Kerrie Romanow, Director, San Jose environmental services, says that most of the times it so happens that the community is simply unaware. The residents of the city have brought down their water usage by around 14% this year. The water district and the state along with the city are presently intending to achieve a reduction of 20%.
In case the drought worsens, the city would move a step ahead for enacting tougher restrictions, like total bans pertaining to watering of lawns and washing of cars almost every time.
The drought declaration follows after the city’s initiative to reduce landscaping and curtail water usage at the public facilities through closing fountains that do not utilize recycled water