Water cutbacks in Woodlake are nearly double Gov. Brown's request

WOODLAKE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new milestone was reached for a rural South Valley city. Woodlake is reporting massive cutbacks in overall water use that nearly double the request from Governor Jerry Brown.

At its conservation peak the city says it has cutback overall water use by 38 percent, reductions that are seen all over the city.

If you take a drive through Woodlake you'll see signs of the city's nearly 8,000 residents defeating the drought. "It's a small town, we all know each other so all of the community comes together to fix the big problem," said resident Fabian Espinoza.

Espinoza grew up in Woodlake. He's proud of what he and his neighbors have achieved.

"There is a difference between talking about how serious this problem is and actually doing something about it," said Woodlake Mayor Rudy Mendoza.

Mendoza is also a member of the Tulare County Water Commission. He's not quiet about the importance of water conservation. "We did it by way of knocking on doors," he said. "We had to contact some folks more than one time. Eventually there were probably a few fines that were involved."

Espinoza says he and his neighbors were given warnings about strict enforcement. "They told us we couldn't water on certain days or they would give us a ticket," he said.

For more than a year Woodlake has continued with big changes. Not only are water schedules for residents being cut back, but parks are getting less water.

Plants and trees are being replaced with drought tolerant ones across the city. And sidewalks have expanded cement coverage where grass once was, eliminating the need to water.

"We have not only done, but we have exceeded the expectation from a conservation standpoint, but it's now up to those folks in Sacramento and at the federal government to deliver on water delivery, no pun intended," Mayor Mendoza said. "And ensure that we have a long term sustainable supply of water."

Woodlake gets its water strictly from underground aquifers. All are five wells are operating as they should. Only one has seen levels drop since the St. John's River is dry for the second consecutive year.

"There may come a point in time where we may have to be more draconian in how we utilize water," Mendoza said. "Let's just hope we don't get there."

The mayor says he hopes water levels hold so water quality doesn't become an issue like in most other Tulare County communities. null
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