No doubt we're back in a drought. Since the last major statewide drought ended about five years ago, the winters of 2016-17 and 2018-19 were two of the wettest in recorded history. Unfortunately, the two winters that followed have been dry (2019-20) and critically dry (2020-21). Lack of precipitation in the Feather River watershed and below average snowpack in the Sierras have put a strain on our imported State Water Project supply. Locally, less than 10 inches of rain has fallen in our key watersheds. Lake Hennessey is currently at 68% of capacity holding 21,000 acre-feet of water. Fortunately, our smaller Milliken Reservoir is full, holding 1,400 acre-feet. Our 2021 operational goal will be to minimize drawdown of Lake Hennessey to better position that reservoir for 2022. To help in this effort, we urge all customers to use water wisely this year, with conservation efforts similar to 2014-2016.
Small changes around the home can make a big difference. Save water now by:
- Waiting until the rainy season has fully ended to turn on your automatic irrigation system, as some rain is expected in April.
- Checking sample irrigation schedules in the Napa Valley Watering Guide and learning how to reset your controller. Consider limiting lawn watering to just one day per week through May, two days per week June through August.
- Applying mulch to planted areas to retain moisture in the soil.
- Running only full loads of laundry or dishes.
- When loading the dishwasher, skip rinsing and scrape food scraps into a compost bin instead of using the garbage disposal.
- Turning off the water while you lather with soap, shave, or brush your teeth.
- Not using the toilet as a trash can. Never flush wipes, tissues, masks, gloves, or paper towels.
- Replacing an old inefficient toilet (>30 years old) with a new high-efficiency model.
- Using a broom instead of a hose to clean off patios, decks, sidewalks, and driveways.
- Finding and fixing leaks!
- Asking our Water Conservation Specialist for a free Water-Wise Home Survey.
- Converting your high-water-use turfgrass to climate-appropriate water-wise plants. Take advantage of our popular "Cash For Grass" Rebate Program.