While Central Valley residents are being urged to use water wisely during the drought, a new report shows that residents of Oakdale are coming through in their conservation efforts.
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) released September water conservation figures which showed Oakdale ranking fifth of 414 urban water agencies representing 37 million residents in conservation efforts based on the per capita use of water.
The state water board said the September estimates of daily water use per person provided insight into how water systems are encouraging residents to save water. Officials from the governor to local water officials have been urging customers to conserve water in case the state has another dry winter.
In its report the SWRCB designated Oakdale with its 20 percent reduction as a “Noteworthy September 2014 Conservation Achievement,” ranking it fifth behind the cities of Grover Beach (52 percent), Santa Maria (29), Davis (28), Contra Costa Water District (22), and San Jacinto (22 percent).
“I am very pleased with the efforts of our residents to conserve water,” said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer, “We have made great strides in reducing our water use by 20 percent. However, there is still more that we can do to conserve this precious resource.”
State water board officials said the statewide conservation rate leveled off in September, after three months of improvements. The total urban water conservation rate across California dropped slightly to 10.3 percent in September.
Currently, 87 percent of the agencies are now implementing mandatory restrictions with some indicating that they are in the process of establishing mandatory restrictions.
The figures varied widely, with the San Francisco Bay region averaging 85.2 gallons per person per day and Colorado River region in the southeastern portion of California using around 251.9 gallons per person per day, according to the state water board.
Next steps for the board include establishing an 800 number to report waters wasters, enforcement of restrictions, and compliance checks.
Officials indicated that if the drought continues next year, it would possibly use a community’s per capita numbers to decide how much water each community should receive if water rationing were to occur.
Setting the per capita water use would be a much fairer approach than telling all cities to reduce water consumption by 20 percent, since some cities have been conserving water for three or more years due to low baselines while other areas trail far behind.