Cities trying to meet water conservation goals and hope for wet winter

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The statewide mandate called for a 25-percent reduction in water use. Fresno had to cut 28-percent, Clovis 36-percent. Both cities have come close to the targets, primarily because residents have cut back on water use.

Residents of Fresno and Clovis have responded to the watering restrictions in a variety of ways. Some are replacing lawns with rocks and gravel, some are using artificial turf.

Rick Christensen has opted for a total desert look in his front yard. "The main reason is it's water conservation to its best I think."

Rick estimates the rocks and cactus will cut water use 70-percent. He was helped by a $2-a-square-foot turf replacement grant from the State.

Others have let their lawns go. Cutting down on outdoor watering worked well in getting close to meeting Stage Two water restrictions in Fresno and Clovis, but maintaining those cuts by forcing restrictions in indoor water use over the winter is going to be tough. And Fresno City Council Member Paul Caprioglio says he doesn't know how his family will handle it if the city has to move to Stage 3.

"My lawns dead, my shrubs are dead, I'm trying to save my 43-year-old trees and if I cut back another 5,000 gallons, I don't know where I am going to get that."

Fresno Public Works Director Thomas Esqueda told the City Council further cuts are possible, but sas a lot depends on the weather and the State. "We've done well here but we've got to be cognizant that it might not rain and if it doesn't rain it's going to be severe water use restrictions."

The hope is a wet El Nino winter will prompt an easing of water restrictions by the state. But nothing is certain yet, and even after planting a desert, Rick Christensen says he too is hoping for rain. "If my cactus drowns we will replant with something that's not a problem."
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