August 11, 2014

Turlock asks water users to tighten up

Turlock asked residents Monday to boost their efforts at water conservation amid the drought, but it stopped short of tightening the rules.

The city asked residents Monday to boost their efforts at water conservation, but it stopped short of tightening the rules.

The request, including outdoor watering two days a week rather than three, comes amid one of the driest years on record in California.

Turlock and most other cities in Stanislaus County rely entirely on wells, which can be stressed if groundwater levels fall or water quality standards are not met.

For those reasons, the cities have restrictions on water use even in average or wet years. Most of them limit watering to certain days of the week, and it never is allowed in the afternoon.

Turlock, the same as Modesto, allows homes with odd-numbered addresses to water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Even-numbered addresses get their turn on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Monday’s request includes limiting each valve to 10 to 15 minutes per watering cycle, fixing leaky faucets and following the rule against washing hard surfaces with hoses. Officials also are looking at reducing water use in parks and other landscaping, including fountains.

They cautioned that a dry 2015 could push Turlock into stricter rules on water use. They also noted that about 60 percent of the summer consumption is for outdoor watering.

The request came a few weeks after the State Water Resources Control Board voted to tighten watering rules, but city officials said Turlock already is meeting most of those standards.

Turlock can fine residents for water waste, but officials have said they prefer education. Customers can get rebates for high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers, free surveys of their water use, and free setup of sprinkler timers. More information is at (209) 668-5590 www.ci.turlock.ca.us.

Modesto also is urging conservation but has not issued a call similar to Turlock’s. It supplements its wells with treated water from the Tuolumne River, though the latter has been reduced this year by the Modesto Irrigation District.

Water use has declined in the region even without the drought-related efforts this year. Managers credit water meters, the permanent rules, education and fixing of leaks in the systems.

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