SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – In California, droughts come with the territory but with drastically low lake levels at Folsom Lake and waterways throughout the region, the city of Sacramento is asking residents and businesses to reduce water use by 10 percent and mandating it for the city government.
Residents like Rosalie Turbebille who are already conserving water are not in a rush to make more cuts.
"I will do my part inside the house more than I do on the outside," she explained. "If things got really severe I would probably look at ways of cutting back," Turbebille said.
Other cities have already called for cutbacks. CBS13 asked the city's Department of Utilities why Sacramento is just now asking residents to reduce water usage. Carlos Eliason, a spokesperson for the Sacramento Department of Utilities, said city water users have been conserving water since the state's last drought.
"Sacramento customers have already been about 25% on top of their water savings, so that is one of the reasons why we asked for these changes a little later on," explained Eliason.
The Regional Water Authority suggests reducing lawn watering times by two minutes. Checking soil before watering can save 80 gallons of water per day, watering plants in the morning can save 50 gallons every time and swapping grass for a low-water garden saves 90 gallons per day, according to experts.
Some residents say they are already following those suggestions.
"I only run it for a few minutes out front and if it starts to get on the sidewalk that's when we turn it off," Sharron Dutra said of her sprinkler system.
The city's conservation coordinator, William Granger, says reducing the time your sprinklers are on can save gallons of water every minute.
"Each sprinkler you have is equivalent to a showerhead. Each showerhead uses 2.5 gallons per minute, so if you add that up and you have six sprinklers going in your lawn, that's 15 gallons a minute that you could save," Granger explained.
Granger said the suggested efforts to conserve water can quickly add up to 10%.
"Ten percent is a few minutes of a shorter shower, shorting the watering by a few minutes, it all adds up," he said.
As an incentive, the city is offering to pay homeowners $3.00 for every square foot of turf they remove from their lawn. The city doubled its offer this year, from a maximum of $3,000 reimbursement to up to $6,000 for a single home.
"A typical lawn would use about 50,000 gallons of water a year and a drought-tolerant landscaping uses about a third of that," explained Eliason.
The city is in stage one of its conservation efforts. The city council has the option to vote for more restrictions. If approved, restrictions would come in 10% decreases of usage at a time.
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