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Long-Term Water Use Efficiency

During the drought, many water users in Davis instituted long-term changes in their water use by replacing turf areas with low-water use plantings, replacing older appliances and fixtures with more water and energy efficient models, and making changes in everyday water use habits. The data shows that Davis water customers cut their water use substantially, reducing use by 22.7% in 2016 as compared to 2013. In 2013, 4,020 million gallons of water was used compared to only 3,107 million gallons in 2016. 2017 saw a slight increase in water usage to 3,230 million gallons, a 19.7% reduction from 2013.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, water users should again look at their water habits, and what they can do to continue to conserve resources. Recent measurements of low snowpack and infrequent rain underline the unpredictability of the climate, and Mayor Robb Davis stated, "As seen with the recent dry weather, California has a highly variable climate and changes in water use efficiency will need to be an ongoing and long-term effort."

Water waste prohibitions remain in effect for the City of Davis and, based on recently released draft language from the State Water Resources Control Board, are likely to become permanent statewide. Water use restrictions include no watering outdoors between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., no watering during periods of rain or for 48 hours after measureable rainfall, and no excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement. Visit SaveDavisWater.org for the full list of water use restrictions.

The State Water Resources Control Board recently delayed a vote on these permanent state-wide water waste prohibitions, but they are expected to be voted on after an additional comment period. According to the State Board website: "Some of the prohibitions on wasteful water use practices that were put in place on a temporary basis during the drought are common sense measures that should apply at all times. California droughts are becoming more frequent and persistent. To increase our resilience to future droughts, Californians must use water more wisely and efficiently." Source: waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/regs/wasteful_water_uses.html

Whether in a dry or wet year, there are actions we can take to reduce water usage long term. The State’s Save Our Water Rebate program still has funds available for converting turf to low water use landscapes. “Outdoor water use comprises approximately 60% of overall water usage,” according to Bob Clarke, Public Works Director, “Any modification of landscapes to reduce irrigation can have lasting positive effects.” For more information and the online application for the state program, visit SaveOurWaterRebates.com.

There are other ways to increase long-term water use efficiency, including replacing high water use appliances and fixtures with EPA WaterSense labeled models, replacing traditional irrigation controllers with weather-based controllers and installing a rain sensor that turns off irrigation when it rains.

For more water savings tips, information on water-wise landscaping and links to helpful indoor and outdoor water use efficiency websites, visit SaveDavisWater.org.

For more information, please contact Dawn Calciano, Conservation Coordinator, at 530-757-5686 or dcalciano@cityofdavis.org

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