Drought still looms over Riverside area

Andrea Steward | Staff Writer

Sept. 16, 2014

Water Conservation is in full effect. Businesses and homeowners are cutting back water usage by 20 percent or face hefty fines.

Riverside is taking action to conserve water by all means necessary.

According to the Western Municipal Water District, this is the third worst drought that California has ever seen even though green grass continues to flourish throughout Riverside.

Riverside Utilities is offering $2 per square foot incentives for homeowners to rip out their lush green lawns and replace with artificial turf or water friendly plants. Residents should expect to see changes in landscaping around Riverside County. Although rain is forecasted, true drought relief is not predicted in the near future.

There is a Riverside Ordinance in effect to implement water efficient landscape standards in Riverside, all of which were instituted prior to this state of emergency. Ordinance No. 7061 under 19.570.030 7 states “All exposed surfaces of non-turf areas within the developed landscape area be mulched with a minimum three inch layer of material, except in areas with ground cover planted from flats where mulch depth shall be one and one half inches.”

Watch for construction, 15 acres of decorative grass will be removed in street medians that will be removed and replaced with water wise plants or bricks. This conservation measure will save precious drinking water from being wasted on watering grass.

Since Aug. 14, when California Public Utilities Commission notified their customers that there would be a statewide mandatory conservation in effect until further notice. There was a 7 percent conservation of water statewide in just under a month.

“You can always cover your pool to keep water from evaporating,” local engineer, Thomas Jones said. “Turn off all the water in your house and then check your water meter, if your meter is still running you have a leak somewhere. Also, you can install toilets that flush with different flow levels depending on your need.”

Riverside Public Utilities urges that if residents see anything in public that needs attention such as excess water runoff, broken pipes or broken sprinklers please contact Riverside by calling 411 and report where the water waste has taken place.