Arroyo Grande poised to adopt permanent water-conservation rules

The Arroyo Grande City Council has voted to permanently require some water conservation measures to ensure the city has enough water to meet its future development needs.

The new rules will come back to the council on May 10 for a final vote, and go into effect 30 days later.

After that, residents won’t be able to use water to clean their driveways, patios, parking lots or sidewalks except where necessary to protect public health and safety. Outdoor irrigation will be prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Residents at even-numbered addresses can water their gardens on Mondays and Thursdays, odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays and Fridays, and everyone can do so on weekends.

The rules also prohibit people from emptying and filling swimming pools and commercial spas unless it is done to prevent structural damage or to provide for public health and safety.

Additional measures would be enacted if the city is using 100 percent of its water supply.

In 2008, city officials imposed water conservation measures because Arroyo Grande was using 99 percent of its available water supply. Those conservation measures, along with increased rainfall, have reduced the city’s water supply condition to normal.

City officials estimate they need a 10 percent increase in the water supply to accommodate future growth.

The city’s water supply comes from the Lopez Lake reservoir and local aquifers. The city is also in its third year of a five-year agreement to buy 100 acre-feet of water annually from Oceano on a temporary basis.

Arroyo Grande officials were interested in buying water permanently from Oceano, but discussions stalled after the Oceano district board turned down a request for water from a developer of a project just outside Pismo Beach earlier this year.