Healdsburg approves mandatory water conservation

The Bay Area?s drought has led to a vote for mandatory water conservation in the North Bay.
January 21, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Tuesday night, the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg approved new, mandatory water restrictions to help deal with the drought.

Mike Wilson just laid out fresh soil for new plants behind his house. It's a new effort to cut back on water use. He's concerned the Russian River is running lower than he's ever seen.

"Healdsburg is usually just, you know, it's a little slice of heaven. Things tend to work out with 30 to 40 inches a year in rain. And, usually we get there. Sometimes 20, but never one-and-a-half inches now," said Wilson.

Healdsburg is in a Stage 1 water alert. But Tuesday night's proposal to go to Stage 2 means all conservation efforts will be mandatory. Mandatory means that people could be cited.

Since the new measures have been adopted, the mayor says citations will only be the last step to get compliance.

"A lot of it's common sense things that people haven't been, you know, probably haven't been doing. You know, checking for leaks, watering on odd and even days depending on where your address is, watering at night so that you're not, not doing that in the heat of the day," said Healdsburg Mayor Jim Wood.

For now, the town's water capacity is at 100 percent. The increased conservation efforts are aimed at heading off any problems in the future.

"If the water flows continue to reduce, we'll have a harder time, or it will take longer for our wells to recover that water," said Healdsburg City Manager Marjie Pettus.

The goal is to cut water use by 20 percent.