A Stage 2 water shortage condition has been declared in Atascadero, leading to stricter policies on outdoor water use, which accounts more than half of water use in the city.
The board of directors of the Atascadero Mutual Water Co. adopted the resolution Wednesday in response to a prolonged drought that has reached historic proportions this year.
“This is the driest year I have seen in 100 years of rainfall records that we maintain,” said John Neil, water company general manager.
Atascadero residents are now prohibited from doing the following:
- Watering outdoors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Residents must now also abide by specific days for outdoor watering. Properties with even-numbered addresses may water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; odd-numbered addresses on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Newly installed landscaping may be watered daily for the first 21 days after planting, but homeowners are encouraged to wait until the fall to plant. Residents are also being advised to adjust sprinkler run-times to prevent excess watering.
Warnings will be issued for the first two violations. The third violation will result in a 50 percent water bill surcharge, followed by a 100 percent water bill surcharge for additional violations.
The goal of the restrictions is to reduce overall water use by 20 percent.
The board had declared a Stage 1 water shortage condition on Jan. 15, two days before the governor declared a drought state of emergency and called on Californians to reduce water usage by 20 percent.
The drought has led to very low water levels in one of the city’s main water supplies, the Salinas River underflow, Neil said. The underflow accounts for 34 percent of Atascadero’s water supply.
So far, Atascadero has only received about 2.5 inches of rain since July 1, compared to 13 inches in an average year, according to measurements done by the water company.