Clovis may take extreme drought measures

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley communities have been looking at possible options to answer Gov. Jerry Brown's call to reduce statewide water use by at least 25 percent.

Clovis was identified by the state as a high water user per capita so it must achieve a 35 percent reduction. Drastic measures are now being considered by city officials to reach California's conservation goal.

The Dry Creek Trailhead in Clovis has been popular with folks who enjoy the outdoors, though some people feel something is missing. Dick Smith said, "Well there is no lawn but it's a beautiful park. It's really nice."

Lush green lawns have also long been a source of pride for homeowners but now brown will be the way to go. Clovis Public Utilities Director Luke Serpa said, "The idea of broad swaths of turf - we live in a desert and I think that's going to become a thing of the past. It's going to be a hard adjustment for people to make but that's where we're headed."

The city of Clovis will consider major changes to ensure it meets the state's goal of a 35 percent reduction in water usage. Serpa explained, "Things we are looking at include going to two days a week watering from our current three-day limit. Looking at actually putting restrictions on people."

In that case, fines of up to $50 could be handed out if residents' water meters don't show the decrease in usage demanded by the state. Serpa said, "We're going to be recommending penalties and that's not how we like to operate but this is a mandatory thing and the laws are coming down from the state."

But Dick Smith said just like in Phoenix people will get used to low maintenance, low water landscapes and the brown lawns. He added he'll do his part, "Well primarily staying out of the shower as long as I usually do, cutting back on watering on the yard and so on."

The conservation recommendations will be heard by the Clovis City Council on April 20. Serpa would like to see the council take action by May 1 because the state will begin measuring water usage on June 1.

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