While Sacramento has started to ration water due to a low water supply and Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought, Lodi will not restrict water usage.
Public Works Director Wally Sandelin said Lodi’s water supply is still in good shape. He added that the city has actively worked to cut back on its water consumption over the years.
“We’re not expecting to have any cutbacks in our service supply,” he said.
Sandelin said Lodi actually stopped the flow of about 6,000 acre feet, equivalent to 2 billion gallons, of water when the Lodi Surface Water Treatment Plant was built in 2012.
The city expects to increase its water flow stoppage to 7,000 acre feet in the future, he said.
The city has 26 computer controlled wells throughout Lodi, and also purchased rights to some surface water from the Mokelumne River, according to www.lodi.gov.
Sandelin said the city aggressively worked toward meeting goals set in a state mandate to reduce water consumption by 20 percent by the year 2020.
“We’ve already seen a 10 percent reduction in our water consumption by installing the new water meters throughout the city,” he said. “We’ve installed about 7,000 so far, and have another thousand or so in the next phase of meter installation. So we’re doing our part to save water.”
The city is about to begin the fourth phase of its seven-phase residential water meter program, which involves installing meters that rate usage.
In April, the city will begin installing 1,334 residential meters. The city has already installed 7,274, and plans to begin installing non-residential meters as well.
The City of Galt, which receives all of its water supply from groundwater wells, also decided not to begin rationing water.
Public Works director Steve Winkler said the drought threat for the city is a future one and depends on the duration of the current drought cycle.
He said the city is watching weather forecasts and water projections very carefully.
“The current drought cycle has not yet had as dramatic an effect on our groundwater aquifer, as is being seen in surface water reservoirs in the region,” he said. “We are currently encouraging all water users in the city to practice conservation, as water is our most precious resource.”
Like Lodi, Galt is currently in the city-wide process of installing water meters that will measure water usage.
Winkler said his staff will be developing options for mandatory conservation methods to present to the Galt City Council in the future, should the drought threaten the water supply.
Both Lodi and Galt have a number of water saving requirements in place throughout the year.
Under Lodi’s Water Conservation Ordinance, residents should not allow a controllable water leak to go unrepaired; should not water down buildings or paved areas such as sidewalks, driveways or patios; should not use a hose without a shut off nozzle; should not allow excess water to flow into a gutter or drainage area for more than three minutes; and should not excessively water lawns or landscapes during or after rain, or between Nov. 1 and Feb. 28.
In addition, the ordinance states that odd-numbered addresses may water lawns, landscapes, decorative plants, gardens and flower beds on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Watering on Mondays is not allowed
Watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. May 1 through Sept. 30 is not allowed.
In Galt, “waste of water” under normal conditions means allowing water to escape from the supply at one quart or more an hour from any leaky, worn or broken valves, faucets, pipes or fixtures. It also means allowing water to run from any hose, nozzle, valve or sprinkler excessively, according to the city’s Urban Water Management Plan.
In addition, free flowing hoses are prohibited except for filling troughs, pools, spas or ponds. Automatic shutoff devices are required on all hoses for watering lawns or gardens, or vehicles, boats equipment, driveways or sidewalks.
All leaking water lines or sprinkler systems in Galt must be repaired within five days.
All pools, spas, ponds and fountains are required to have a re-circulating pump and be built in a leak-proof manner.
Stricter regulations may be imposed depending on the severity of the water shortage.
Sacramento City Council approved severe water rationing Tuesday night as the Folsom Reservoir currently holds just 175,000 acre feet of water. The reservoir’s maximum capacity is 977,000 acre feet.
Other reservoirs, such as Shasta, are in similar condition. That reservoir currently holds 1,657,000 acre feet of water out of the maximum 3,373,000 acre feet it can actually hold.
In addition, the governor declared a drought emergency in California, asking residents to voluntarily cut back on their water usage by 20 percent.
While the reductions are voluntary, Brown said he will continue to monitor the weather and consider mandatory cut backs if things do not improve.
Sacramento officials said rationing enforcement will include a task force of monitors to patrol the city and look for violators.
In Lodi, if residents are found to be in violation of the conservation ordinance, they will first be notified with an informational flier detailing the specifics of water waste.
A second offense within a 12-month period will warrant a written notice from the city. A third offense in the same 12-month period will result in a written notice along with a $35 charge, and a fourth offense in a 12-month period will result in another written notice, as well as a $75 charge.
A fifth offense within a 12-month period will result in a written notice and a $150 charge. The city may also install a water meter or flow restrictor at the homeowner’s expense.
Violators in Galt are subject to $25 added to their water bill on a second offense, $50 added on a third offense and $100 added on a fourth offense. A fifth offense warrants installation of a water meter at the resident’s expense, in addition to a $100 reconnection fee.
Six or more offenses add another $100 to a resident’s bill per offense, plus installation of flow restrictors at their expense. Penalties are stricter when a water emergency is declared.
Both Lodi and Galt encourage residents to report violators of the respective city ordinances. In Lodi, residents can call 209-333-6706 to report violators. Galt residents can call 209-366-7260.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at email@example.com.