Governor Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration ordered state agencies to cutback water usage by 20 percent Friday.
The Department of General Services will form a task force which will include all state agencies to come up with strategies to achieve those savings.
It didn’t take long for the department to begin posting signs reminding workers to conserve water at the 60 state buildings it operates. They were placed at drinking fountains and on the doors of restrooms at the State Capitol. The department also halted the washing of state vehicles unless safety is involved.
“The goal is to find little ways where we as the state of California and as facilities managers can pitch in and conserve water,” Brian Ferguson, Deputy Director of the Department of General Services, told FOX40.
Many state buildings have already been installed with water saving devices like aerators on water faucets.
Big savings may come at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation which operates 34 prisons statewide. Newer prisons were built with saving water in mind, but a 20 percent savings from the prison system where inmates live 24 hours a day can be huge. The department says it will take part in the state task force on saving water.
Caltrans waters 30,000 acres of landscaping statewide and a cutback in watering may be noticeable as the warm weather months approach. It has already switched to drought resistant plants and in many areas uses mulch instead of plant ground covers along highways. Moisture sensing technology to control watering cycles and sensors to that shut off water when sprinklers break has also been used at selected interchanges.
Those strategies may come into play as the drought continues.
The governor also ordered a halt to all new and unnecessary landscaping projects. A Caltrans spokesman says they will comply with that directive.