Water experts push conservation for Valley restaurants

FRESNO, Calif.

The City of Fresno and the California Restaurant Association are both calling on restaurants to conserve.

At this point no one is accusing restaurants of wasting water. But Fresno's Water Conservation Supervisor says if each restaurant in the city cut back the savings would be enough to provide 5,000 people water for a day.

Dog House Grill says it's already making an effort. Just by changing the way dishes are washed conservation experts say restaurants can save big time during what the governor is calling a mega drought.

"We've always been conservative and thoughtful toward the preservation of water," said Matt Billingsley, the general manager at the Dog House Grill in Northeast Fresno. He says there's a lot of conservation inside and outside his restaurant from the fake lawn, to cutting back on watering the live landscaping, even cleaning the floors.

"We purchased a machine that uses less water," Billingsley said. "So there's a lot less chances of water being spilled from mop buckets, or continuous changing of mop buckets."

Dog House Grill has long skipped the routine of serving guests a glass of water as soon as they're seated.

"It's amazing it takes over a gallon of water to wash the glass," Nora Laikam, Fresno's Water Conservation Supervisor.

She says if all restaurants in the city cut back on the automatic water pour as much as a million gallons of water a day would be saved. "They use approximately 5 to 6 thousand gallons of water a day," Laikam said. "That's a lot of water. Some of it's very necessary, of course."

Eateries in both Sacramento and Bakersfield are already eliminating routine water pours. In Fresno, if water concerns worsen, the city may begin stricter regulation.

"If everybody kind of pitches in in that aspect, they don't really have to suffer of give up anything in the quality or preparation of their food," Billingsley said.

In March, Fresno will evaluate its water supply to see whether businesses or residents need to conserve even more. Right now, the average person in Fresno uses 240 gallons of water a day, which is much less than the average uses several years ago, according to the city.

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