Grass Valley residents asked to reduce water use by 20 percent |

Grass Valley residents asked to reduce water use by 20 percent

Christopher Rosacker
Staff Writer

With increasing dry conditions leading to fears of a severe 2014 drought, residents of Grass Valley are asked to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, said Public Works Director Tim Kiser at a Tuesday meeting of the Grass Valley City Council.

"At this point, it is just a voluntary 20 percent reduction. We will be looking at that further as the state comes out and looks at things in February," Kiser said.

"But there is a potential that it could become a mandatory reduction," he also said.

On Jan. 10, the Nevada Irrigation District, a water utility servicing western Nevada County and parts of Placer County, requested its customers voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent, citing the need to prepare for long-term dry conditions and the increasing possibility of limited water supplies in 2014.

Grass Valley is partnering with NID to implement a reduction program, as half of Grass Valley is served by the water utility and the other half by Grass Valley's own water system, Kiser said.

While NID water storage levels remain near average for this time of year, this year's dry winter has not produced a snowpack that will refill them in spring and summer.

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In a Jan. 8 report to the NID board of directors, NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger said district staff is planning for dry year operations.

NID Water Efficiency Coordinator Lesa Osterholm said the district is also planning meetings with Nevada City to discuss water conservation.

"NID will be looking at things again in February and March, and we will be working with them," Kiser said.

"Grass Valley also relies on NID raw water to serve our own customers, so it is important for us to be partnering with them during these difficult times."

Municipal staff will return to the city council, likely at its second January meeting or its first meeting in February, to suggest some ways the city can reduce its own water use, Kiser said, such as fixing toilets.

A number of measures have already been undertaken to reduce the city's water use, Kiser said.

At NID's Jan. 8 meeting, Osterholm asked local residents to pay special attention to water use, including basic items such as repairing leaks, reducing shower times and turning off the tap while brushing teeth.

She also said that during the winter months, even when dry, little or no outdoor irrigation is needed.

An update on this year's water availability is planned at the NID board of directors' Water and Hydroelectric Operations Committee meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The meeting is open to the public.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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