City of Merced gets state approval to use recycled water after cutting usage by 44 percent

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Merced announced Tuesday it has surpassed the state requirement for conserving water and now officials have a new plan to bring local parks back to life.

The city has now cut water usage by 44 percent but a lot of trees and plants have suffered as a result. That's why the city recently got state approval to start using recycled water to save them.

Workers are now pumping treated waste water into trucks and hitting the road to spray plants, trees, and dry grass at local parks and street medians.

"We want our city residents to know that if they see a water truck out there watering in a park, it's not using drinking water, it's using recycled water. So we're trying to do our effort to conserve", said Mike Conway the city's public information officer.

The city held a news conference Tuesday all about water conservation. Officials say they had to get state approval to start using recycled water at local parks, and they're also starting to water them twice a week instead of once.

According to Stan Murdock, the Director of Public Works, citizens shouldn't expect to suddenly see green. "It's going to take some time. Two times a week is tough to maintain and the truck, although, it's nice, it's going to spots that are really stressed, it's going to go to trees more than turf."

Officials also applauded residents and businesses for helping to cut water usage by 44 percent, which is more than the 36 percent required by the state.

"You can drive around and see that a lot of yards have gone "golden" as the state says. People are watering their plants and not the lawns as much and I really think that's where it's coming from", said Leah brown, water conservation specialist.

The city began installing more than ten thousand water meters in June to encourage conservation and plans to finish that project by next spring.

City leaders say crews have had to cut down about 100 dead trees, mostly redwoods that need a lot of water. They plan to eventually replace them with more tolerant options, but not until the drought is over.
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