By KELLI BALLARD
Strathmore Public Utility District Board of Directors May 27 adopt water use regulations, restrictions and guidelines for water shortage emergencies, as well as imposing fines for offenders, because of the water shortage faced this summer.
SPUD is being allocated only 75 percent of water it received last year from the Friant Kern Canal. The district does have one domestic water well which can supplement the water supply.
The federal Reclamation Department has announced it is only making a limited supply of canal water available for domestic use only. No water is being delivered to farmers.
This year’s water is from a designated Public Health Needs supply. Because of the shortage of water, the Board found it necessary to declare a water shortage emergency throughout the area served by the District.
On May 27 the Water Shortage Emergency Ordinance was passed.
While well can be used, the nitrates are too high for consumption, especially for children and the elderly, so the well water needs to be blended with the canal water to make it usable.
The district has been working hard to educate the citizens on water conservation, requesting a reduction of 25 percent of regular usage. In March, during a Step Up event, students went around educating the public in unique an entertaining ways. One student, for example, designed a costume shaped as a toilet and wore it around asking questions related to water conservation. When people gave the correct answers, they got to open the toilet lid to get a prize.
Another student also asked conservation questions and rewarded people with candy attached to a tear drop. And yet another went around with a pie chart, giving out information.
Gail Grasmick, a teacher at Strathmore Middle School, orchestrated this event and many kids got involved learning and teaching ways to conserve water during the drought.
“Even if it’s the children telling the parents, it’s out there,” said Sanchez. “But people tend to have short term memories” and so SPUD continues to hold educational meetings and events.
For the first couple of months after the Step Up event, the water usage was good, Sanchez said. However, in April, it spiked and it was time to take further action with the mandatory water restrictions. The water usage, she said, is restricted to hygiene and consumption - no landscape watering.
- Cannot water lawns
- Cannot clean driveways, house exteriors, sidewalks patios or parking areas with water
- No new additions of new landscaping
- Watering of current landscaping will be allowed only at a minimal level necessary to sustain existing landscaping, and will proceed on an alternating odd/even address system
- Hoses must have a shut-off nozzle
If not in compliance, a person will likely receive a warning first, $25 fine for a first violation after the warning, $50 fine for a second violation, and $100 for the third and subsequent violations. Each day that a violation continues shall be regarded as a new and separate offense.