Residents of the City of Turlock took big steps to reduce water usage in 2014, dropping usage down to levels comparable to the 1990s. However, some changes may be on the horizon to conserve more in 2015.
According to Municipal Services Director for the City of Turlock Michael Cooke, about 6 billion gallons of water was used in 2014. That amount is about the same used in 1998-98, when the population of Turlock was about 50,000.
“Turlock citizens and businesses are doing a great job, but there’s always more that they can do,” said Cooke. "We hope to work with them this year to set even a higher standard."
The City of Turlock also kept up with state averages, according to Cooke, who said 140 gallons per person per day was the state average and Turlock was right on that average.
A decade ago, the average resident used more than 300 gallons per day, more than double used in 2014.
Despite the positive cutback efforts from Turlock residents in 2014, Cooke hopes to implement some changes to the water ordinance to help conserve even more.
Currently, the City of Turlock has a year-round watering schedule, where residents can water their lawn three times per week, no matter the time of year. Cooke is proposing the City limit water in the winter to one time per week.
Coinciding with watering, Cooke’s proposals change water wasting enforcement from two warnings before a resident is fined to only one warning before being issued a fine.
However, Cooke also recommended that a resident’s first fine be waived if they attend a water education workshop.
Another change to the water ordinance recommended by Cooke is that the water conservation stages be changed from five different stages to four.
“As you probably know, we have three years of drought and we’re probably going to have a fourth year of drought,” said Cooke. “So we feel like this is the responsible way to manage our groundwater resources in the region."
None of Cooke’s proposals have been made at this time, but the discussion of groundwater will continue on Feb. 3 when Turlock City Council hosts a special meeting to discuss groundwater resources and other utilities.
The special meeting will take place Feb. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.