California drought: Tahoe-Truckee districts adopt water conservation measures | SierraSun.com

California drought: Tahoe-Truckee districts adopt water conservation measures

Staff report

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — The North Tahoe-Truckee region’s three major water providers recently committed to follow state-mandated regulations as the drought continues to dry up the West.

At the start of April, the state of California and Gov. Jerry Brown chose to implement regulations in two phases. The first involves the California State Water Resources Control Board’s March 27 adoption of emergency drought regulations.

Earlier this month, each of the board of directors for the Truckee Donner Public Utility District, Tahoe City Public Utility District and North Tahoe Public Utility District voted to take action to follow those regulations.

Compliance is mandatory and there are provisions for penalties and fines.

“It is important to note that, although the Truckee region is in a drought, Truckee Donner PUD is not experiencing a water supply shortage,” Michael Holley, Truckee Donner PUD general manager, said in a statement. “That being said, long-term drought will impact us all, and we must all comply with the mandatory state emergency drought regulations and do our part to conserve.”

Key impacts to Truckee Donner PUD water customers include restrictions on irrigation with potable water of ornamental landscapes and turf to every other day, along with prohibitions for all Californians, punishable by a fine of up to $500 for each day in which a violation occurs, against the following new regulations:

using outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation,

restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers upon request; and

hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily.

To help with enforcement, the Truckee Donner PUD has established a formal procedure to receive complaints regarding observations of noncompliant incidents.

Staff will investigate complaints and take action where appropriate, according to the district. Complaints must be in writing and can be filed at the tdpud.org home page (click on the “drought” link) or delivered to Truckee Donner PUD at 11570 Donner Pass Road, Truckee.

PHASE TWO RESTRICTIONS

The second phase involves California Gov, Jerry Brown’s well-publicized April 1 Executive Order for more conservation, including reducing water usage by 25 percent, a first-of-its-kind mandate for the Golden State.

Since the state water board has to approve the additional regulations — it’s reportedly supposed to do so in early May — additional restrictions at TDPUD are likely officials said.

The same is true at Lake Tahoe. According to a statement from the NTPUD, which approved similar restrictions in April to its water customers in Carnelian Bay, Tahoe Vista, Kings Beach and other locations, if the state board adopts Brown’s mandate, staff will bring another resolution to the May board meeting to adhere to stiffer regulations.

Regardless, the NTPUD will begin “strict enforcement” on May 1 on conservation measures the district adopted last summer, which are still in effect and being enforced.

In Tahoe City, the PUD board there earlier this month adopted a similar ordinance to increase enforcement on water restrictions that officials say are paramount due to the region enduring a fourth-straight mild and snow-less winter.

“The snowpack in the Sierra was 6 percent of average or less when measured on April 1, with many survey locations having no snow at all,” officials said in a statement. “Considering these stark realities, water conservation is absolutely essential.”

The TCPUD will enforce many of the same regulations; further, violations can include escalating penalties up to $500 per day, water service restriction and/or water shut off.

“Even though our water situation isn’t as dire as in other parts of the state, we must recognize our supply isn’t infinite and we need to do our part too,” Erik Henrikson, TCPUD board president, said in a statement. “We feel the new ordinance will assist us in achieving our conservation goals without overly burdening our community.”

Tahoe City’s complete ordinance can be found at tcpud.org/utilities/ordinances.shtml, and general drought and water conservation information can be accessed at http://www.tcpud.org.

NTPUD residents, meanwhile, can visit ntpud.org/conservation to learn more.

As for the Truckee Donner PUD, visit tdpud.org/departments/conservation for conservation tips and more.