City of Tracy Increases Water Use Restrictions
State Water Board Requires Tracy to Reduce Water Consumption by 28%Posted: Jun 4, 2015
Location: Tracy, Calif.
The Tracy City Council held a public hearing on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 to authorize the implementation and amendment of Phase III and IV water restrictions (as defined in Chapter 11.28 of the Tracy Municipal Code) in order to meet recent State Water Resources Control Board emergency drought regulations. Under the proposed amendment, Phase III and IV water restrictions would be implemented immediately, rather than 30 days of the final read and adoption of the ordinance.
“The State Water Resources Control Board has implemented mandatory potable water regulations for all water suppliers to meet the Governor’s 25% statewide water reduction goal,” stated Stephanie Reyna-Hiestand, Water Resources Analyst. “In response to these heightened regulations, Tracy is now moving from Phase I and II water restrictions to Phase III and IV. Our responsibility now is to educate the public on what those restrictions mean, how they impact them, and ways the public can join the State’s effort to conserve.”
Under State Water Board regulations, urban water suppliers are placed into one of eight tiers which are assigned a conservation standard, ranging between 4% and 36%. The State Water Board has determined that the City of Tracy reduced its water consumption by 23% since 2013, and will need to meet a 28% overall water reduction. Implementing Phase III and IV water restrictions will meet this requirement; they include the following mandates:
• Potable water used for landscaping shall be restricted to three days per week between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. for Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Institutional, Municipal and other entities as deemed necessary. Odd-numbered addresses may water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and even numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays;
• Potable water may not be used to wash hardscapes such as patios, sidewalks and driveways;
• Runoff shall not occur when irrigating with potable water;
• Hoses without automatic shutoff nozzles cannot be used to wash cars;
• Potable water cannot be used in decorative fountains, ponds and water features that do not recirculate the water. Therefore, all park water features and splash pads that do not recirculate water are now closed for the remainder of the year and until drought restrictions are lifted. This includes the popular splash pads at Lincoln Park and the Downtown Plaza. Signs will be posted at water features throughout town to alert the community;
• Restaurants are not required to serve water to their customers unless the customer requests it;
• Irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf or grass on public street medians is prohibited;
• Irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings not in accordance with emergency regulations or other requirements established by the Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development is prohibited (more information is available at www.bsc.org).
As a result of the water conservation restrictions, residents should expect to see significant changes to the appearance of parks, landscapes, sports fields and street medians. Ornamental turf, grass and landscape may appear more dry, yellow and/or brown. City staff will work actively to meet the State’s water restrictions while maintaining the usability of City parks and sports facilities.
Implementation, Education and Enforcement
In order to implement Phase III and IV water restrictions community-wide, the City will increase its education and outreach efforts to further encourage water conservation and reduce water waste. This will be achieved through educational utility bill inserts and conservation advertisements in local newspapers and theaters, signage in landscaped areas throughout town, news updates via the City’s website and social media channels, and encouraging public comment via the City’s Government Outreach system and mobile app, GoRequest. In addition, the City has deployed water patrol to assist with community outreach and education efforts.
Water conservation concerns and/or complaints are referred to the Water Resources Analyst for further investigation. Typically, staff will investigate the issue and provide water customers with educational materials about conservation and ways to manage and monitor water usage. If the customer refuses to comply, a written letter would be issued encouraging compliance to avoid penalties. If the problem continues, a citation in accordance with City’s municipal code could be issued. City fines would range between $100 for a first violation to $500 by a third violation, and up to $500 for a first violation if imposed by a State agency. However, staff’s past practice is to use education and outreach before taking punitive action to achieve water conservation goals. City employees may turn off unsupervised running water at residential and business locations. If the home or business owner is unavailable on-site, a door hanger will be left explaining the City’s actions.
Phase III and IV restrictions will continue until adequate precipitation alleviates the drought. If the drought continues into a fifth year and beyond, additional emergency water restrictions may be required.
To report water waste or issue a water related service request, visit the City of Tracy website at www.thinkinsidethetriangle.com and click on the “Contact Us” link. This will prompt you to the City’s service request portal. The public can also download the “GoRequest” application to report issues or concerns via a mobile device. The City of Tracy Water Resources division may also be contacted at (209) 831-4333.
Stephanie Reyna –Hiestand, Water Resources Analyst