Lake Hennessey

Lake Hennessey

Register file photo

The city of Napa on Wednesday announced the lifting of a 20-percent minimum water-saving target imposed by the state, as extended drought conditions slowly ease in the Bay Area.

A water supply certification sent to the state June 22 shows that municipal water supplies would be enough to meet local demand even taking into account a "stress test" assuming three more years of lower-than-average rainfall, the city said in a statement.

The declaration comes after state regulators on May 18 allowed some California communities to ease the consumption curbs Gov. Jerry Brown imposed last year, requiring cities to lower usage by 20 percent or more from 2013 or face fines. The water restrictions came at the crest of a four-year drought that emptied reservoirs, led to record-low snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada and raised wildfire risks across the state.

After water-use curbs and monitoring went into effect in June 2015, Napa cut its consumption by 25 percent, saved 1.2 billion gallons, and brought its usage down to early 1990s levels when the city had 14,000 fewer residents, according to the statement.

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Despite the lifting of hard conservation targets, water-use rules the State Water Board has passed during the drought remain in force, with violators subject to possible city fines.

Irrigation during rainfall or within 48 hours of measurable rain remains illegal, as do overwatering greenery and the washing of driveways and sidewalks. Those using hoses to wash vehicles still must use shutoff nozzles, fountains and water features must recirculate the water, and restaurants can serve water only on request.

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