Healdsburg cuts water use by 40%, locals could face fines for violating restrictions

HEALDSBURG, Calif. (KGO) -- The drought just became a lot more real for residents of Healdsburg and they'll be reminded of it with every drop of water they see or use.

City council made a decision late last week to cut back 40% of business and residential water use until next winter, at least.

"Annoyance," said Bill Masterson. "I am still annoyed. We are trying to find a solution."

Masterson lives in the Fitch Mountain Villas. After this city turned off the water, last Friday, the neighborhood association hired a truck to bring in reclaimed water at a cost of $5,000 a month.

"We're doing triage basically," said Masterson.

And the city has put teeth into it with possible fines for those who will not comply.

RELATED: 26% of California classified in worst drought category

"Take a picture of Lake Mendocino and you will see," said Healdsburg Mayor Evelyn Mitchell. "It looks like a puddle and that is where we get our water."

Indeed, on April 20, Governor Gavin Newsom stood on the dry, cracked lakebed and declared a two-county drought emergency that has only grown more widespread in the weeks since.

RELATED: 8 simple ways to save water as California faces worst drought in decades

But 40%?

"40% of last year is impossible," said Chef Dustin Valette.

He hopes the council takes that measure from another year besides 2020 when his famous restaurant and other businesses struggled through COVID-19.

Already, Valette has taken to soaking potatoes rather than rinsing them.

He now uses melted ice in champagne buckets to water his plants.

RELATED: South Bay officials declare water shortage emergency, urge community to reduce use by 15%

And, he has begun selling bottled water from Norway. The Norwegian water sells for $8 per bottle.

"It helps out a little bit," chuckled Valette.

In 2021 Healdsburg, they say that about every single drop.

See more stories and videos about the California Drought here.

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