Thursday, June 5, 2008

With this spring among the driest on record, the governor proclaiming a statewide drought, and rationing recently imposed in the East Bay, you may be wondering about the City of Napa's water situation.

Thanks to a diverse portfolio of local and imported supplies - and a very wet January and February - the City will avoid mandatory drought restrictions in 2008.  Lake Hennessey, our primary local reservoir, came within three feet of spilling and reached 94 percent of its capacity in March, and despite a reduced allotment from the State Water Project we are taking advantage of dry-year purchases and 2007 carryover water to bolster our Delta supplies.

This is no time for complacency, however.  Long-term water conservation programs and decreasing per capita demand are an intrinsic part of our good fortune.  Minimizing our water use this year will help to ensure adequate supplies for 2009 if dry conditions persist.  We urge customers to renew their commitment to a water conservation ethic as we enter the peak summer irrigation season:

  • Water infrequently and deeply, adjusting your schedule at least monthly to match the changing weather.  Plants' water needs peak in July, then decrease as days grow shorter.
  • Water in the early morning to avoid evaporation loss.
  • Adjust sprinklers to avoid watering driveways and sidewalks.
  • Prevent runoff by scheduling shorter run times and taking advantage of your controller's multiple start time feature.
  • Switch from spray to drip irrigation where feasible.
  • Use mulch to retain soil moisture and inhibit water-stealing weeds.
  • Install native and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Schedule your free Water-Wise Home Survey or Business Survey by calling 257-9497.

More than half of our community's annual water use is outdoors, so more efficient irrigation practices are the key to our water future, both locally and throughout the state.  This summer, the City will be installing an educational Water-Wise Demonstration Garden, beginning a "Smart" Controller rebate program, and resuming our popular Water-Wise Landscaping Workshops.  Visit this site's Water Conservation page for the latest City offerings, including indoor programs such as the residential High-Efficiency Clothes Washer Rebates and our Smart Rebates for commercial customers.

NOTE:  The City has joined with other Bay Area water agencies to resume the Water Saving Hero outreach campaign for 2008.  You may catch these colorful messages on the radio, on buses, or in print.  May they serve as a reminder that a permanent water conservation mindset is essential to sustaining a high quality of life in our region.