Drought restrictions tighten

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

The Tuolumne Utilities District board Thursday night approved tougher restrictions on water usage, completely forbidding lawn watering and requiring customers to cut usage by 25 percent or face fines up to $500.

The new restrictions alter those enacted by TUD on Jan. 28. Those created odd-even water days for lawns and imposed fines on those using more than 200 percent of their prior-year consumption.

The stakes are enormous, said TUD General Manager Tom Scesa.

If the district is unable to cut consumption districtwide by half, TUD will run out of water in 120 to 150 days, he said.

Thus far, the district's conservation campaign has been a flop, according to board member Ruanne Mikkelsen.

She said customer water use has actually increased 48 percent since the year started, when compared to last year.

"We haven't seen any meaningful reduction in water use," Mikkelsen said.

Scesa said totally eliminating lawn watering could more effectively help the district meet its goal of cutting customer usage 50 percent.

For the full story see today's Union Democrat.

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