The San Juan Water District which has over a quarter of a million customers in Roseville, Granite Bay, Folsom, Citrus Heights and Orangevale says it is preparing a mandatory ban on landscape watering if drought conditions continue into February or March.
Currently there is request for its customers to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20% and a halt to landscape watering. District General Manager Shauna Lorance says reducing watering from once a week in the winter will have minimal effects on plants in the winter.
Granite Bay homeowner Fred Schifferle says he hasn’t watered his plants since November. He is surprised that his neighbor across the street still has her sprinklers running on a timer. Water was running from her lawn into the gutter on this overcast day.
“To me it’s needless, I never water during the winter,” Schifferle said.
The neighborhood is made up of large homes on large lots with premium landscaping.
His next door neighbor Bob Kline says he says his large lawn isn’t a concern if a mandatory watering ban is declared.
“If the lawn goes, it can come back. The plants are expensive,” Kline said.
The district’s water comes from Folsom Lake, which is at historic low levels. If there is no more rain, the water level could go below the district’s intake pipe by May.
“We have to make the existing storage that we do have last until the next rain, which probably wouldn’t be until November. We are in what appears to be a water emergency,” Lorance said.
A mandatory ban would be declared if the water shortage leads to a health and safety hazard because water would be preserved for cooking, bathing and toilets.