Mono County Finding Ways to Save Water

Posted in: Drought, United States Water News, Water Conservation, Water Crisis
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Article courtesy of Staff Reports | June 11, 2015 | The Record-Courier | Shared as educational material

Mono County officials said the county is doing its part to save water during the California drought.

County staff is addressing drought-related issues on many fronts, from implementing water use reductions to providing information to our visitors.

The county public works department’s facilities staff is taking measures to reduce water consumption at or beyond the governor’s 25percent mandate. While this mandate only applies to urban water users, facilities staff was proactive in seeing how such a reduction could be accomplished on county-owned parks, fields and landscaping. For county properties with individual wells, the irrigation schedule was cut from 6 days a week, twice a day, to four days a week, once a day, reducing overall usage by close to 50 percent for those properties.

Irrigation at county parks and facilities in Bridgeport, Lee Vining and June Lake now follows the restrictions laid out by the Public Utility Districts that serve these areas. Generally, these restrictions allow for irrigation on 3 specific days per week, and cut previous use by as much as 50 percent.

“We believe this approach will not have long-term detrimental effects to landscaping or fields, but we will monitor the impact and make adjustments as necessary,” said Parks and Facilities Superintendent Joe Blanchard.

Other conservation efforts include shutting off all irrigation systems during recent storms, which gave a nearly two-week reprieve to the county’s water supply. Staff is also installing rain sensors on irrigation systems countywide. Additionally, a recently developed overflow system is being installed at the Crowley Lake ball field will capture runoff from the well’s pressure relief valve and will be used to irrigate new trees. “We are continuing to look at numerous other avenues to conserve water and will keep you posted on our progress,” said Blanchard.

Beyond these on-the-ground conservation measures, the county’s economic development and tourism department is working to spread the word that our natural-flow lakes are full of water and trout, encouraging visitors to “c’mon up, the water’s fine.” An exceptionally wet May has helped boost river and stream levels, as well, and water-based recreation this summer is off to a good start for visitors and residents alike.

At its June 2 meeting, the Board of Supervisors directed county staff to communicate these conservation and awareness efforts. “We hope this will start a conversation about the impacts of drought in Mono County, and that we can engage our residents and visitors in the stewardship of water,” said Supervisor Stacy Corless.

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