Drought trains Bay Area residents to conserve as water restrictions ease

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If the drought isn't over it's certainly going to be on hold in many local water districts after State Water Resources Control Board lifted mandatory cutbacks. (KGO-TV)

If the drought isn't over, it's certainly going to be on hold in many local water districts after the State Water Resources Control Board lifted mandatory cutbacks.

Now it's up to those districts and at least one has made changes already.

The Contra Costa Valley Water District did not waste time. It lifted restrictions and surcharges Wednesday night. Now it's up to residents to respond.

Any street in Pleasant Hill shows a patchwork of lawns in differing stages of splendor, decay, or non-existence.

Craig Deschner took brown to another level, and just across the street is Rahul Karadi, who cannot remember the last time he watered.

"It looks worse in the back, actually," Karadi said.

They've become water savers and now facing temptation after the Contra Costa Water District opened taps, eliminating mandatory cutbacks. They cite a change in attitude.

"I think the biggest thing people have been reminded of is how much water they do not need to use," said Jennifer Allen of the Contra Costa Water District.

Case in point, Dublin residents conserved so much water that their district relaxed most restrictions last March.

Dublin has a wastewater treatment plant that gives the stuff away to residents. It charges $10 a truckload for industrial use.

"We are able to recognize that water is too valuable a resource to treat as a commodity and flush into the Bay," said plant operator Todd Millison.

That same attitude can be found on streets like Greenwood Court, where Deschner says has no plans for a new lawn.

"We'll use the water for something else," he said.

Clearly, this drought has changed people.

"I guess honestly I would like to save the water. There are better uses for it," Karadi said.

Click here for full coverage on the California drought.

To learn how much water your city is required to cut back, click here. For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. You'll find tips about how to conserve water here and information on how to report water wasters #WhereYouLive, here.

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