Homeowners still must obey watering rules after state decides to continue conservation

The State Water Resources Control Board decided to continue conservation efforts across the state. The rules were expected to expire on Jan. 28.

This means homeowners will have to continue outdoor watering restrictions, such as:

  • only watering the lawn three days a week depending on their address
  • not watering lawns 48 hours after measurable rainfall
  • and not hosing off sidewalks or driveways.

Additionally, water companies will still be required to submit monthly water reports on how much they are saving. For instance, Cal Water and city customers are still expected to save 9 percent of water cumulatively. In January, customers saved 11 percent reduction from the same month in 2013.

"Everyone is doing a great job conserving. I think we have all learned not to water on Mondays and still conserve water, and we are meeting our target, so keep up the good work," said Art Chianello, water resources manager for the city of Bakersfield.

The State Water Resources Control Board decided to extend regulations because a lot of the state is still in a drought. In addition, groundwater levels are still at historic lows, and it will take more wet years to help bring those tables back to where they were before the drought began.

"It's been a wet January, and yet we have had five years of the drought, so it is going to take a while to recover ...," said Chianello.

With all the precipitation over the past few weeks, Eyewitness News asked about the sustainability of the levees across the North and South Kern River.

Chianello said the levee system for the Kern River has been designed for the 500-year flood. Last year, FEMA recertified the North and South Kern as a accredited levee.

"That means it had to go through an analysis to make sure the levee is high enough and it contained flood water flows if they were to occur. There is no danger," said Chianello.

Eyewitness News also asked for an update on the Lake Isabella Dam, and Chianello said over the last week the dam has been flowing at about 2,000-4,000 cubic feet per second.

"In early January, we saw it peak at 10,000 cubic feet per a second, so we are actually below that," said Chianello.

The dam is being released at 700 cubic feet per second, and that will be updated as people have additional needs for water to the various water districts.

"All the way from March 1 to Nov. 1, we will have a new storage limit of 361,250 acre feet, so we will be able to store more water in the beginning of March," Chianello said, to allow for winter runoff and spring runoff.

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