City of Tracy Surprised by Residents’ Serious Water Conservation

Posted in: Crisis Response, Drought, United States Water News, Water Conservation, Water Crisis
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Tracy City Hall (File photo) Photo credit: Fox40

Article courtesy of Lonnie Wong | October 13, 2014 | Fox 40 | Shared as educational material

TRACY-Public utilities officials in Tracy can’t quite believe it themselves.

According to data collected by the city, water use was a whopping 41 percent less in August of 2014 than in the same month in 2013. That is the latest month that figures are available.

This is at a time when many communities in California are struggling to save the statewide drought emergency goal of 20 percent less water use.

“It’s almost too good to be true. We are very excited about these numbers. We are looking into it to see if they are true,” Tracy Public Utilities Director Kuldeep Sharma said.

In the meantime, the city will credit residents for stepping up and taking the drought message seriously. Sharma says there are four to five calls a day letting the city know about broken city irrigation systems or other residents who are violating watering rules.

The city is making repairs quickly and it credits other departments for buying into water conservation. Watering at city parks and street medians has been reduced as evidenced by stressed lawns in some parks, and the city fire department has adjusted its training schedule which is saving a lot of water.

Unlike many other communities, Tracy doesn’t have water use restrictions based on the day of the week. Instead, watering is not allowed at night. Other restrictions like the use of shut off nozzles on hoses and spraying down sidewalks are in place.

Although fines of from $100 to $500 are possible, the city is concentrating on voluntary compliance with warnings and educational outreach efforts.

City officials say the water savings means they can use less well water to supplement it’s allotment of surface water and water purchases from the an irrigation district that supplies most of its water.

The water savings from previous months have been trending upward. In July, the city used 25 percent less water than the previous July.

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