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California Drought: Morgan Hill Imposes Mandatory Water Restrictions

MORGAN HILL (KPIX 5) – Unlike most Bay Area cities, Morgan Hill gets 100 percent of its water from underground wells. And that's a big reason why the city became the first in Santa Clara County to issue mandatory water use restrictions.

"The fact that we get all of our water from wells, we have to make sure that we are good stewards of that water," said Mayor Rich Constantine.

The mayor said he enjoys his green grass as much as the next person, but said mandatory watering cutbacks to just two days a week and only in the early morning or late evening hours mean it won't look lush for long.

"Lawns will get brown, and some plants won't die but they'll get brown as well. They won't look as nice as they would otherwise," Constantine told KPIX 5.

The city is also stopping the refilling of ornamental fountains, ponds or lakes that use potable water.

Residents can no longer wash their own cars at home and only commercial car washes with recirculating water systems will be allowed to operate. There's no washing down driveways either.

Also, restaurants will no longer be allowed to serve glasses of water to customers unless they specifically ask for it.

At the Sinaloa Cafe, that will be big change.

"When somebody comes in, we give them chips and salsa and water. That's the number one thing we do.  Now we'll have to put on the brakes," said Assistant Manager David Beltran.

On a hot day like Thursday, with temperatures soaring into the 100s, some questioned the need for that.

"I think probably with the restaurants, overall it's probably not saving that much," said Brian Canali, who was visiting after riding his bike from San Jose.

Others said they'd fall in line with the restrictions.

"We have to take care of our water situation. And we got past the pandemic, now we're in the water business," said Morgan Hill resident Jess Torres.

The city won't be issuing fines, yet.  People violating the rules will likely get a notice and warnings before any further action is taken.

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