Arroyo Grande sets water usage restrictions

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Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 22:51:29-04

Arroyo Grande residents are now being required to reduce their water usage.

This comes after the city declared a stage 1 water shortage emergency.

Arroyo Grande residents primarily receive their drinking water from Lopez Lake.

The lake's capacity is sitting at less than 30% so the city is now declaring a water shortage emergency.

Meanwhile, residents are looking at ways to conserve like installing synthetic grass and other drought tolerant plants.

As the drought deepens, mandatory water use restrictions are becoming the norm all over California and some yards are starting to suffer.

"We were definitely watering our grass and our trees less and so as that happens, it kind of gets brown and it's not looking as beautiful as we like it to," said Sara Clarin of Arroyo Grande.

Clarin is taking part in the City of Arroyo Grande's Cash for Grass program in which the city pays residents to rip out their grass.

This week, synthetic grass is going in her yard.

"We'll meet the requirements as well as it'll save money on our monthly water bill and just longterm maintenance and care for the property," Clarin said.

Depending on bi-monthly water usage, Arroyo Grande residents will be required to reduce their consumption by 0%, 7%, or 14%.

"Overall, our goal is to reduce water consumption in our city by 10%," said City Manager Whitney McDonald.

Back when the drought happened in 2015, the city put an ordinance in place with triggers to track if it were to happen again.

"One of those triggers is when Lake Lopez gets to 15,000 acre feet of water," McDonald explained.

"This is the second drought I've been through. From 2015 through 2017, we dropped to 11,000 acre feet and we pulled out of the drought about 26,000," said Shane Taylor, City of Arroyo Grande Utilities Manager.

Customers will receive a letter by next month with their required water allotment.

If residents don't comply, they'll get a notice in February and March of next year. If they still don't comply, they'll be fined $50 increasing incrementally up to $200.

There's an option to attend Water School in lieu of that first penalty.

But residents are not taking any chances and more and more are transforming their yards.

"We have all new drought tolerant plants so that you know, we'll cut back on our water usage considerably," said Robert Mongillo of Arroyo Grande.

The Cash for Grass Program awards $1 per square foot for lawn removal.

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