Fresno Urges Water Conservation Following Dry Year

Fresno Urges Water Conservation Following Dry Year

Fresno just had its driest year ever recorded, and conserving water is a major concern. The city is considering hiring temporary workers to monitor water usage-- an unusual measure for winter months.

Drought-like conditions are not only affecting those in the agriculture industry.

The city of Fresno is urging residents to conserve water and reminding residents to only water their lawns on their designated days. During winter months in Fresno, addresses ending with even numbers water on Sundays, while those with odd numbers can only water on Saturdays.

The city just had its driest year ever recorded in 2013, and conserving water is a major concern.

At the City of Fresno's Water Division, staff is considering hiring six temporary workers to monitor water usage; while this happens every summer, it's an unusual measure during the winter months.

"Right now, it's becoming an issue for us," said Martin Querin, assistant director for Fresno's Water Division. "We may have to bring on some temp staff just to help us make sure and monitor and keep people doing the right thing."

People watering outside of the designated days is a bigger problem than people may realize. According to Querin, Fresno relies primarily on the groundwater supply.

"Unfortunately, we've extracted a tremendous amount of what would be our drought supply. And so we're already in a deficit," Querin said.

With the use of meters, consumers pay for what they use. But according to the Water Division, pumping more and more water can translate to higher water and sewer rates in the long run.

Residents are taking notice.

"I can tell in the phone calls that we're receiving and the interaction that we're having with the public, " said Nora Laikam, water conservation supervisor with Fresno's Water Division. "When they see somebody wasting water, they get very upset, so they do call us."

Staff at nurseries around the city suggest using drought-resistant plants to have a landscape that's less water intensive.

"A lot of the plants can be adapted to the water conditions," said Annie Gallagher with the Belmont Nursery. "Rather than water a little bit all the time, you want to water less frequently, more deeply, that's also going to encourage those roots to go deeper."

The City of Fresno has more tips to conserve water. You can find them on their website: http://www.fresno.gov/Government/DepartmentDirectory/PublicUtilities/Watermanagement/Conservation/default.htm

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