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Drought Emergency: Santa Rosa Considers Mandatory 20% Reduction In Water Use

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – Officials in Santa Rosa may order all residents and businesses to reduce their water usage by 20%, as a worsening drought leads to lower available supplies in Sonoma County.

The city council is expected to consider declaring a water shortage and adopting Stage 3 of the city's Water Shortage Contingency Plan at Tuesday's meeting.

Along with reducing water usage by 20%, the watering of lawns and other landscaping would be limited to the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Shut-off nozzles would be required for all hoses.

Using potable water to wash down sidewalks and driveways would be prohibited unless required for public health and safety. Pressure washing with potable water would also be banned, unless a variance is obtained.

For restaurants, water can only be served upon request. Meanwhile, hotels and other lodging must tell guests about the drought and only launder linens only upon request.

The proposed restrictions come as the State Water Control Board's decision to allow Sonoma Water to reduce releases from Lake Sonoma into the Russian River and an order to reduce diversions from the Russian River by 20%.

"For Santa Rosa residents and businesses, this means there will be an immediate shortage of water availability beginning July 1, 2021 and necessitates the need for Council to consider adoption of additional restrictions and prohibitions on water use," officials said.

The council looking at tougher restrictions comes only a month after urging a 20% voluntary reduction in water use.

Other North Bay communities have enacted mandatory water restrictions, including the town of Sonoma, where outdoor watering has been restricted to two days a week. Meanwhile, Healdsburg has limited all residents to 74 gallons per day, as its sole source of water is drying up.

Water saving tips can be found on the city's website.

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