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Mandatory Water Saving Upped At Lake Don Pedro

La Grange, CA – Beginning April 1, Lake Don Pedro residents will need to improve their water conservation by 20 percent in order to meet the community services district’s new 50 percent mandate.

According to Lake Don Pedro CSD General Manager Pete Kampa, the district office is working with dates and times in March to schedule a public hearing, as required by the California Water Code, so that customers are able to provide input and convey any individual water needs such as for health or medical purposes that might require a special dispensation. The meeting will be the third such gathering in recent months. As the district office once again expects more than 100 people to attend the event will be held off-site.

The board unanimously voted last Thursday for Kampa to prepare the revised mandatory water conservation regulations. Kampa says that, due to the continuing drought and other water-related issues, he expects the restriction to remain in place for the foreseeable future. The district gets most of its water from Lake McClure.

So, what does 50 percent water conservation for Lake Don Pedro CSD customers look like? Kampa says it is simple: No outside irrigation this summer. Period. “The typical customer quadruples their water use in the summertime in Don Pedro, and if outside watering is not done at all, everyone is guaranteed a 50 percent reduction.”  While, according to Kampa, there are no farming operations among Lake Don Pedro’s water customers, a few residents have irrigated grasses for horses or cows. Under the stiffer new restrictions, they will have to bring in feed instead. Over the long term, as issues with water supply continue, Kampa indicates that customers with extensive landscapes will need to make modifications, such as making drought-tolerant vegetation choices and using gray water.

For customers who still need to get their in-house water use in check, the district office offers free water tablets to check for toilet leaks, the primary source of water leakage in the home. According to Kampa, such leaks, otherwise hard to detect, may suck away anywhere from 50 gallons up to several thousand a day. Also available in limited supply are water-efficient shower heads and faucet aerators. “If people are being aware of their inside use and have efficient fixtures and practices, they will not have a problem at all getting through this mandatory reduction,” he states.

Ironically, Kampa adds that the demand on the Lake Don Pedro CSD water supply is not due to the customers, it is that the Merced Irrigation District, come April 1st, will be required to release up to 500-acre feet per day to the downstream salmon spawning areas. “Where our demand could be reduced to about one acre-foot per day for all of the district’s 2,500 customers, the demand for the salmon downstream is about 450 to 480 acre-feet a day,” he explains. “It’s quite a task to keep water in that reservoir, and while [potentially coming] storms are great…even if we had normal precipitation through the end of the water-year, we would still have grave concerns about the remaining water supply in the fall.”