Water Conservation

Notice of State Water Resources Control Board Emergency Regulation to Control Water Use During Droughts

MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED has been ordered by the California Public Utilities Commission to notify its customers of the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Board) recent adoption of emergency regulations for statewide urban water conservation, including mandatory restrictions and potential fines for violations of the State Board’s regulations. This notification is being sent because California is in a drought, and your cooperation is needed to ensure reliable supplies of water for your comfort and necessary use.

The State Board has determined that the following water use activities by MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED customers are not allowed:

1.    Watering outdoor landscapes in a way that causes water to “runoff” onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures.

2.    Washing a vehicle with a hose without a shut-off nozzle or other device that will immediately stop the flow of water when not in use.

3.    Using drinking water to wash driveways and sidewalks.

4.    Using drinking water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is recirculated.

Violation of any of these four prohibited or restricted water use activities may be punished by a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each day in which the violation occurs.

Please note that such fines are a last resort and that they may be assessed only by local law enforcement authorities. MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED would like to thank its customers who have voluntarily conserved water up to this point and asks that you continue these efforts and comply with the State Board’s new restrictions on outdoor water use.

In addition to the four prohibited activities listed above, the State Board’s new regulations require MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED to inform their customers that they must limit outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with drinking water to no more than two days per week. MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED recommends that such outdoor watering be restricted to one day during the week and one weekend day before 9:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. for short segments lasting a few minutes each hour (adjusting your sprinkler accordingly to prevent any runoff). Leave an hour between watering times to allow the water to soak into the soil.

Further information may be obtained from MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED’s local business office at (209) 722-1069. Again, MEADOWBROOK WATER CO OF MERCED wants to thank you in advance for helping us manage what has become the most serious drought in California’s history.

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General Guidelines and Tips:

Adjust Your Sprinklers

  • Aim them so they only hit the lawn and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  • Set the sprinklers for the early morning or after sunset when the air is cooler and the sun isn’t hitting the ground, which causes evaporation.
  • Don’t run sprinklers on windy days; most of the water will blow away or evaporate, never reaching the grass.
  • Check the soil moisture regularly. It should be allowed to dry out down to 2 or 3 inches between waterings.
  • If the lawn is sloped and water runs off, water for shorter periods more frequently to allow for absorption.

Plant and Water Smart

  • Replace lawns with drought-tolerant plants. Local nurseries such as Merced Gardens or Queen Ann’s Nursery in Atwater can provide information on appropriate types.
  • Place mulch around plants to reduce evaporation.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it’s needed.
  • Water plants deeply but less frequently to encourage drought tolerance and deep root growth.

Repair Leaky Plumbing

  • Every drip adds up over a month of metering. Toilets and sprinkler systems are common sites of leaks.
  • Listen for any sounds coming from your toilets between flushing, AND–
  • Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If any color seeps into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Toilet leaks can have a huge effect on your water bill.

Filling a Pool Once is Not Expensive. Adding Water Every Day Is

  • Avoid overflow when kids swim and splash around by only filling the water to several inches below the edge.
  • If you have a pool with an automatic filling device, check for leaks frequently.
  • Look for tall, green patches of grass nearby, which indicate a leak or regular overflow.
  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation.

Adjust Your Habits

  • Turn off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth.
  • Use your washing machine only for full loads of laundry.
  • Fill the kitchen sink or a basin with water to wash dishes, rather than using a running stream.
  • Sweep your driveway or sidewalk with a broom, rather than using a hose.
  • Have your car washed at a car wash, rather than washing it yourself. Many drive-through car washes use recycled water.