What Marin’s water restrictions will mean for residents

Bay Area

MARIN, Calif. (KRON) – After a dry winter that left low rain totals and a dismal snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, reservoirs are at a historic low going into California’s dry season.

To combat the upcoming drought Marin Water passed water use restrictions Tuesday which begin immediately.

The list of restrictions includes:

  • Do not wash vehicles at home. If you need to wash it, use a carwash that recycles water. 
  • No power washing homes or businesses.
  • Do not wash driveways or sidewalks.
  • Do not water between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Do not waste water. Flooding gutters is prohibited. 
  • Leaks must be fixed within 48 hours after being discovered.
  • Garden hoses must have shutoff nozzles. 
  • No watering grass on public medians.
  • No using potable water for dust control, sewer flushing projects or street cleaning. 
  • No refilling decorative water fountains.

A full list of restrictions can be found on the water district’s website.

While these orders go into effect immediately, enforcement will not begin until May 1 to give customers time to prepare.

“Our goal is to reduce our overall districtwide water use by 40 percent,” said Cynthia Koehler,
president of Marin Water’s board of directors. “Our community has been through droughts
before, and they have always risen to the challenge. Our most affordable reservoir of
opportunity to address drought and grow our climate resilience is outdoor water use, which
doubles during the summer months. Marin is a community that pulls together and knows how
to conserve, and I have confidence that we will reach our water use reduction goal.”

The ordinance also restricts gold courses to only watering tees and greens, which will go into effect May 20.

Mandatory restrictions are triggered when reservoir levels drop to 40,000 acre-feet by
April 1. Current storage levels are at just over 41,000 acre-feet, as the state moves into the warmer
summer months.

Only 20 inches of rain fell in Marin this winter, making it the second-driest year in 90 years.

Persistent warm, dry weather has lowered Marin Water’s reservoir storage capacity
to 52 percent—the lowest level in nearly 40 years. Storage levels for this time of year are
typically more than 90 percent.

Violation of the restrictions would first result in a written warning. Second violations would result in another warning and a $25 fine. Subsequent violations would result in a $250 fine. The ordinance also includes a process for variances that allows customers to seek an exemption for hardship or for health and safety reasons. For questions about variances, customers can email the district at
Variance@MarinWater.org.

While fines will be handed out if necessary, Marin Water, which serves more than 191,000 people in central and southern Marin, says it will focus primarily on education, and they will rely on the community to follow the rules.

“Our priority is to partner with the community around building greater water use efficiency
now and in the future,” Koehler said. “Water is a limited resource and Marin Water will be
providing a range of programs and incentives to support our residential, business and
institutional customers with opportunities to conserve.”

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