BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The 2021 water year was the second driest on record in California. That’s according to the California Department of Water Resources and as Kern County could move into the next stage of the drought, Cal Water hosted a public forum this evening to help educate the community about ways to conserve water and reduce usage.
“To use water wisely. To use water with intentionality and use less of it whenever possible,” said Kevin McCusker Manager of Community Affairs for California Water Services.
Cal Water hosted the public workshop at the Kaiser Permanente Sports Village in Southwest Bakersfield Tuesday evening. The goal was to let people know how they can conserve water and why it’s important to do so now.
“The drought here in California is extremely severe and here in Kern County, I think we know that better than most people in the state. We understand the importance of water, the value of water. And how things are when there’s not enough of it,” said McCusker.
By December, Cal Water could move to stage two of their drought contingency plan, which means more restrictions on water usage for residents.
“So, for a majority of our customers, it really means a reduction in the number of days that they can water their landscaping. We’re moving to two days per week, and they’ll be limited to after 6 p.m. at night and before 8 a.m. in the morning,” said Tamara Johnson, District Manager for Cal Water.
With this stage, the focus is on how people can conserve water outdoors.
“If they have property, a yard, etc. That’s really where a lot of residential water use happens. And when you make changes in your landscaping choices when you make changes in your irrigation patterns, you see real water savings,” said McCusker.
So, one of the rebate programs that Cal Water offers is that if you have a lawn in your backyard or front yard and you replace it with drought-resistant plants, you can get up to $3 back per square foot and if that area had drip irrigation, you get 50 cents more per square foot.
“The best way to have long-term conservation as a way of life, water efficiency as a way of life, is to learn about it. Is to educate people,” said McCusker.
Some other restrictions are washing vehicles with a hose that has a shutoff nozzle or similar device. Not using water on driveways or sidewalks unless necessary and no watering of outdoor landscapes within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
Cal Water also has more programs and free consultations that you can sign up for to help conserve more water in your homes. For more information on these programs you can visit their website.
“It’s been a very dry year and although we’ve had some rain recently, that doesn’t alleviate the problem. There’s still a long winter ahead and we have to prepare for the worst and that’s what we’re doing,” said McCusker.