Livingston declares drought emergency, limits outdoor watering

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The severe drought has now led the city of Livingston to implement new watering rules. (KFSN)

More North Valley residents are facing new water restrictions starting Monday, and officials say violators will be fined.
The severe drought has now led the city of Livingston to implement new watering rules. Council members declared a local drought emergency and passed an urgency ordinance last week so they could cut back outdoor watering right away. Residents can now water their lawns just twice a week during limited hours, as the city tries to meet new state standards.

City workers hit the streets of Livingston on Monday to make sure residents are following new water restrictions and to finish adjusting the timers on public sprinklers.

"There will be absolutely no watering between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.," said Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra.

People who have even numbered addresses can now only water their lawns on Tuesdays and Saturdays, while odd numbers have Thursdays and Sundays. Until now, it was three days a week, and residents say many people didn't follow the rules at all.

"The neighbors have three garbage cans lined up, and they're spraying them and spraying the walls, and they have a patch of grass this big, and they're watering it for like 25 minutes," said Lorenzo Aragon, a Livingston resident.

But now, Samra says code enforcement, public works and police will all be looking for violators.

"If you are caught violating those rules, the first time you get a warning; we think everybody deserves that," said Samra. "The second time it goes $50, third time it goes $100. If you still haven't learned your lesson, it goes to $500. And after that if somebody wants to do it, I think they've got more money than we've got water."

Longtime resident Eduardo Mota supports the new urgency ordinance. He's already taken several steps to save precious water during the drought.

"That's easy, I put in new grass that doesn't need that much water, and I take some of my plants out, so I try to make an effort to conserve the water," said Mota.

Livingston officials say the city cut its water use by 18 percent from 2013 to 2014, but it's trying to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's mandate for a 25 percent reduction statewide.

The ordinance also bans washing cars in neighborhoods on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and excessive water flow onto sidewalks and gutters.

The workers who were out checking neighborhoods on Monday say they found no one violating the new rules.

Related Topics:
droughtwaterwater conservationmerced countyLivingston
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