Severe water cutbacks in Bolinas

January 30, 2009 6:36:38 PM PST
The west Marin County town of Bolinas is already dealing with drastic water rationing, and the cutbacks there are very severe.

The people of Bolinas are going to have to get by on 150 gallons of water per day, per household.

"Not letting the water run ever, when you're washing dishes. Really, really careful about how we use water, not washing our clothes as often, things like that," says Bolinas resident Sharyle Patton.

The water supply in Bolinas depends on Arroyo Creek to fill the town's two reservoirs. However, one reservoir is too low to reach the pipes to service the town, and the other reservoir is at 60 percent. Both should be at 100 percent.

"For local businesses that have greater water needs, we've asked them to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent," says Jack Siedman with the Bolinas Public Utilities Commission.

At businesses like the Coast Cafe, it is now only a water upon request policy, and biodegradable cups take the place of glasses.

"You can put things in a wok and let them thaw slow instead of putting them in a five-gallon bucket of ice water," says Coast Cafe co-owner Dave Cook. "Blanching vegetables even ? you underblanch, spread them on a pan and you can let them air cool and you don't have to use that excess water."

Sixty percent of the people in Bolinas are already using less than 150 gallons per day, per household that they're now being allowed to use. Some are getting by fine without it.

At the Butler household they've managed to maintain a large beautiful garden while only using half of what they're allotted. Mark Butler collects rain water himself in huge tanks.

"We use these in our beds, get them deeply watered, and then we put about six-inch mulch of hay on top and you can come back a month and a half, two months later, and move that hay away and that soil is still moist," explains Bolinas resident Mark Butler.

Water officials will begin patrolling meters on Monday. Repeat violators could face fines of $100, and if that doesn't work, they could face loss of service.