Twain Harte lawns get no reprieve from drought

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

Lawn watering is still banned in Twain Harte due an ongoing supply shortage in the area, despite the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors voting Tuesday to get rid of the restriction for customers in other parts of the county.

The TUD board lifted its ban on lawn watering but kept all other current restrictions in place - including one that cuts water deliveries to wholesale users by 50 percent over the previous year.

Twain Harte Community Services District is one of those wholesale users, delivering the water it purchases from TUD to 1,600 Twain Harte residents.

Due to the restricted supply from TUD, the THCSD board is still concerned about the district running short on water if customers don't cut usage by 50 percent.

At a meeting Thursday, the THCSD board unanimously voted to keep the lawn watering ban in effect for its customers.

In May, THCSD customers were just short of the goal. Districtwide usage was down 41 percent over the same month in 2013, which THCSD General Manager Tom Trott called a "phenomenal community effort" given that the majority of properties don't feature lawns.

Unlike many other parts of the county, Twain Harte homes and businesses are landscaped mostly with plants and chaparral rather than lawns. That means residents have to cut back mostly on indoor household water usage - such as showers, laundry and dishwashing - making it more difficult and cumbersome to meet TUD's requirement.

Another concern is that the town's population doubles in the summer months as part-time residents and visitors flock to the area for vacation, increasing the overall demand for water.

For the full story, see the June 16, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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