Landscape watering will be limited to a maximum of twice a week under an executive order issued by Governor Brown. The order overrides a decision the Rancho Murieta Community Services District made last month to reduce the community's drought response and allow watering three days a week. The CSD and other water agencies will update the state on their efforts to reduce water use and the effectiveness of these efforts, according to the drought proclamation.
"The driest months are still to come in California and extreme drought conditions will get worse," Governor Brown was quoted as saying in issuing the April 25 proclamation. Throughout the state, residents are being asked to reduce their water use 20 percent.
At its April 16 meeting, the CSD board of directors rejected a staff recommendation to keep the community's drought response at a 20 percent cutback in water usage and reduced the conservation level to 10 percent, which added a third watering day per week effective May 1. At the time, even with the Stage 2 drought declaration, the community's water use was down less than 9 percent from the same period in 2013. Despite being the driest year on record, 2013 continued an upward trend in water usage that began in 2012, according to the CSD. Outdoor use accounts for more than half of total potable water use.
When the CSD declared the Stage 2 drought response in January, the community's reservoirs -- Calero, Chesbro and Clementia -- were 60 percent full and Cosumnes River flows were less than a third of the 70-cubic-feet-per-second threshold that allows diversion into the reservoirs.
Without a significant change in the snowpack and rainfall, the CSD would not be able to fill its reservoirs, and could run out of water by early fall, a consultant informed the board. The situation was potentially more dire than the 1976-77 drought that has shaped CSD water planning and policies.
While rainfall in February and March didn't end the statewide drought emergency, the increased river flows allowed the CSD to fill Rancho Murieta's reservoirs. The diversion season ends this month with reservoirs filled to the brim, and the community will depend on stored water until diversion season begins again Nov. 1.