City Attorney Mike Aguirre is calling for the City Council to immediately declare a Stage 2 water alert, which would make several water conservation measures mandatory.

Such a declaration would enable the city to prohibit irrigation of both homes and golf courses during certain days and times, prohibit restaurants from serving water unless requested and curtail all washing of sidewalks and driveways with potable water.

A Stage 2 alert would skip past a Stage 1 alert, during which water conservation is still voluntary. Stage 1 alerts can be declared during periods when the possibility exists that the city will not be able to meet all its water demands. A Stage 3 alert allows the city to impose restrictions on watering at commercial nurseries and manufacturers. Stage 4 alerts can only be declared when a massive failure occurs in the infrastructure that delivers water to the city. At that point, outdoor irrigation can be banned and other uses can be severely restricted.

Aguirre says the Stage 2 alert is necessary to forestall restrictions that could be imposed next year because of a federal judge’s order limiting water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

“The threat [the judge’s] ruling poses to the City’s water supply, in combination with the current drought conditions, is enough to declare a water shortage emergency,” Aguirre wrote in a memo to the City Council, asking for the issue to be docketed.

Earlier today, Mayor Jerry Sanders held a press conference that preempted Aguirre, saying that emergency measures were not currently needed, largely because the severity of water shortages is not yet known. A wet winter could help reduce the impacts of the federal court order.

ROB DAVIS

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