Morro Bay residents face new restrictions on water usage

The city of Morro Bay has increased its mandatory water conservation measures from moderately restricted guidelines to its next tier of severely restricted conditions in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent declaration of a drought emergency.

Brown officially declared the emergency on Jan. 17, asking Californians reduce their usage of water by 20 percent.

Under the new restrictions Morro Bay announced Tuesday, irrigation of public and private landscaping is only permitted on Tuesdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered property addresses and on Wednesdays and Sundays for even-numbered property addresses.

No potable water may be used for cleaning or rinsing docks, boats and other marine facilities, or driveways, patios, parking lots, sidewalks and other paved surfaces.

Using hoses to wash cars is prohibited, but residents may use a bucket.

The city also is asking people to use automatic irrigation sprinklers only on an as-needed basis.

Also, restaurants in the city will no longer provide water to customers unless requested.

The city’s public works department reserves the right to shut off the water of users who fail to comply with the water conservation measures.

“The city would like your continued help in conserving water,” Rob Livick, the city’s public services director said in a statement. “Please limit the amount of water used around the house.”

Statewide, 2013 was the driest calendar year in 119 years in California.

The recorded rainfall of about 4 inches in Morro Bay in 2013 was the lowest since it started measuring rainfall amounts about 40 years ago, Livick said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The average amount of annual rainfall in Morro Bay is 15 to 18 inches, Livick said.

Under Morro Bay’s code on moderately restricted uses of water, residents were already banned from watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and required to use spring-loaded shutoff nozzles or similar controlling devices for outdoor irrigation, among other measures.

General tips from the city to conserve water include checking all plumbing for leaks and getting them prepared by a plumber promptly, installing flow restrictors, planting drought-tolerant landscaping, and avoiding installing decorative fountains unless they use recycled water.

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