City Requests Further Curtailment as Shortage Intensifies
The City of Santa Cruz has declared a local emergency today for damages caused to City infrastructure during recent storms, as crews work non-stop to repair the damaged water pipeline. In order to ensure the City maintains adequate water reserves while the pipe is being repaired, ALL City of Santa Cruz water users are urged to enhance their water curtailment efforts.
On Monday, January 9, Santa Cruz water officials urged the community to cut back non-essential water use by thirty percent. Water use on Monday was 5.7 million gallons. On Tuesday water use dropped to 5.3 million gallons thanks to customer efforts. However, the City was only able to produce 4.8 million gallons of water, which included 1.1 million gallons of water imported from Soquel Creek Water District. Water from Santa Cruz storage tanks was tapped to fill the gap, with just sixteen million gallons of water remaining in storage. Unfortunately, the first repair attempt on Tuesday was unsuccessful and more curtailment is necessary as repair work continues.
City officials are very thankful to residents for the curtailment progress made and acknowledge that saving additional water at this time of year is challenging. “Santa Cruz residents understand and respect the vulnerable nature of their water supply,” said City Manager Martin Bernal, “we know that it’s a lot to ask them to do more to save water, particularly during this time of year when there are not a lot of non-essential uses of water.”
Out of an abundance of caution, water officials strongly urge residents to intensify their water curtailment efforts for the next several days to a week. Repair work is extremely challenging due to the weather, terrain and conditions in the area of the damaged pipeline, and may increase the time anticipated to completely restore the system. In the meantime, water customers are requested to take the following actions:
- Less frequent showers/baths
- When showering, shut off flow when lathering
- Flush the toilet only when necessary
- Postpone laundry
- Use paper plates instead of washing dishes
- Warm water on the stove instead of running it to get hot
- No outdoor water uses of any kind
The City will closely monitor customer use in the next 24-48 hours and determine if additional curtailment measures are required. City officials are hopeful that water customers will cut water use and City water sources are able to come back online soon. If those measures are unsuccessful, additional curtailment actions may be required, including temporary closure of businesses and schools.
Information on the status of the water shortage can be found on the City’s website at www.cityofsantacruz.com/H2Oshortage, along with ways that customers can reduce water use. The webpage will be updated frequently.
The Santa Cruz Water Department daily serves water to 96,000 customers, processes 6-8 million gallons of water per day, manages 4,000 acres of watershed lands, oversees 300 miles of distribution lines, runs a state-certified water quality laboratory, and provides summertime recreation activities at the Loch Lomond Reservoir and Recreation Area.