Water Usage Up 20% in February 2022
Call for conservation continues
2022 is off to the driest start for San Jose in recent history.
A now third year of the California drought is deepening after a promising winter start. A very wet December followed by a dry January, February and March means conservation has never been more important.
In February 2022, water usage climbed 20% over the same time period in 2019. Valley Water, the water wholesaler for Santa Clara County, has asked residents to cut back water use by 15% from 2019 levels.
But why is water usage heading in the wrong direction? It’s a simple matter of weather conditions. “Climate change is real,” shared Andy Gere, San Jose Water’s president and chief operating officer. “With warm temperatures and almost no precipitation in early 2022, people have started to turn on their irrigation systems. Our base comparison year, February 2019, was very cool and wet so there was no need for outdoor water use.”
Rainfall levels at Lake Elsman – SJW’s largest reservoir in the Santa Cruz Mountains – is a perfect example of the 2019-2022 comparison. A very wet 2019 led to reduced water usage — irrigation systems could be shut off as Mother Nature did her work. In 2022, people are watering plants and lawns due to lack of rainfall.
“We’re asking all Californians to step up,” said Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. That means reducing water usage immediately and also taking steps that will help conserve in the long run, he said, such as replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants, or switching to water-saving appliances.
As of April 1, 2022, California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack levels were just 39% of normal. All of this means that the drought has become more severe. On Monday, March 28, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the 420 largest water agencies in the state — cities, water districts and private companies — to increase water conservation by going to level 2 of their drought plans (watering only 3 days per week). San Jose Water is way ahead of the game. We implemented Level 3 (watering 2 days per week) last summer when Valley Water declared the drought. Our restrictions are already more restrictive than what the Governor asked.
A huge thank you to all our customers jumping on the conservation bandwagon. We need these efforts to continue as we move into the warm weather months.
What can you do to help during this extended drought? We can help you use water more efficiently with our FREE water check-ups. Learn more at www.sjwater.com/CATCH. Multilingual conservation tips are available at www.sjwater.com/H2Otips. Rebates and water saving devices can be found at www.watersavings.org.