Paso to ease grip on residents’ faucets

The Paso Robles City Council will lighten up on the city’s water conservation rules this fall and winter.

Earlier this year, Paso Robles issued mandatory water conservation measures to customers because officials expected demand to exceed supply.

Hot weather, a three-year drought and stressed water supplies all played a part, officials said.

Paso Robles’ roughly 10,000 water accounts — representing about 29,950 people — saved 20 percent of their typical summer usage from May to mid-September compared to the same periods in 2008 and 2007, officials said. That’s a savings of 275 million gallons.

Now, with the arrival of cooler fall and winter temperatures, the measures — such as limiting lawn watering to three days per week between 7 p.m.

and 9 a.m. — will become voluntary Oct. 15 through April 30, and then become mandatory again on May 1, when the heat is expected to pick up.

However, that’s not a reason for users to now make up for lost watering opportunities, City Councilman Fred Strong pointed out.

“We’re not encouraging people who have cut back this summer to add it all back in the off-season,” he said Tuesday.

In fact, users did such a good job of complying with the mandatory measures that the city had wells on stand-by mode that were “normally operating around the clock in other years,” Christopher Alakel, Paso Robles’ water resources manager, told The Tribune.

The number of wells on stand-by mode varied by day, he added.