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Water restrictions hit peak

Jim Scripps

Carson City’s water supply got a much needed break on Tuesday with a 24-hour city-enforced stop to all garden watering.

Because the day fell on July 31 – and Carson City water customers are on an even-odd watering schedule – residents with odd addresses were told to hold off until today.

Although the number of water violators on Tuesday was not known, Utilities Operation Manager Tom Hoffert said city staff was out in force handing out warnings and citations.

“We have as many as five people running around the clock, seven days a week,” he said. “When temperatures increase and the demand is up, we see more non-compliance.”

Under the even-odd scheme, residences with even addresses may water on even dates, and odd addresses on odd dates. The two exceptions are July 31 and Aug. 31, when no watering is allowed.

Last year approximately 200 residents were either warned or cited on July 31 for illegal water use. The third offense, following two warnings, results in a fine of $50 with each successive fine increasing in cost. Hoffert said the citations are misdemeanors similar to traffic tickets.

Hoffert said he does not know of any second citations being handed out yet this summer.

In addition to the daily restrictions, water users are prohibited from watering during the day between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Water wasted on broken sprinkler heads, car washing or poor drainage is grounds for a citation.

“People can do a lot if they check their lawns after an activity or mowing to make sure no sprinkler heads are broken,” Hoffert said.

Although this year is the driest in recent memory, Hoffert said lower overall temperatures have served the city’s water supply well over the last few days. “Right now our water system is in good shape,” he said.

A new well in Kings Canyon is also expected to come online soon. Despite the additional water source, water is less available overall because of lower-than-average snow runoff.

In the case of a long succession of 100-plus temperature days or an equipment failure, Hoffert said restrictions can be stepped up while repairs are made or minimum water flow is restored.

During a June equipment failure, utilities staff went door to door asking residents to restrict use until the problem could be fixed.

To help the situation, all of Carson City’s golf courses and many of the public parks are using effluent or treated sewage water. Some of the customers for effluent water include Edmonds Sports Complex, the softball field at Centennial Park and the cemetery.

Governor’s Field is in the process of being converted, and next year Carson High School and Mills Park will be put on that system. Fuji Park has its own well.

Currently, Carson City customers are consuming about 20 million gallons a day. That’s a 12.3 percent increase from the 18.5 million gallons a day consumed last summer. Approximately 27 million gallons are stored in tanks, which are replenished for daily distribution.