Ceres residents are expected to use far less water for their yards now that October has arrived and the water use targets have lowered.
In theory, the changes in the seasons will result in lower temperatures and hopefully rainfall and cause residents to back off on their outdoor watering. That's why the city now expects a household of four persons to use 7,000 gallons of water per month or less. Those households who don't could face fines from the city.
The Ceres City Council enacted the water use targets effective June 1 in response to the state mandate that cities cut back on water consumption because of the drought. Ceres must reduce its water use by 28 percent with residential users the primary focus.
Water use targets changed between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. During the spring, which includes January to March, the water usage target per month is 7,000 gallons of water. During the summer months of April to September, the target is increased to 27,000 gallons of water each month to account for outdoor watering. In the fall and winter months of October, November and December, the target is decreased back down to 7,000 gallons of water each month. The targets are based on a figure of 60 gallons per person per day.
Households who exceed the "target" by 10 percent get off with only a warning but those who exceed by 25 percent face a $25 fine; exceeding by 75 percent, a $75 fine; and exceeding by 150 percent, a $150 fine. Approximately 750 fines have been issued since June.
To help Ceres households keep a reign on water use, the city is offering to conduct a water audit. This will allow the city to increase an allotment to account for more people in the home as well as offer tips on water saving practices. City staff will provide residents with efficient fixtures to replace any inefficient fixtures on site. No changes will be made to targets without a completed water audit. To schedule a water audit call 538-5732 or visit the city online and enter a customer service request at http://user.govoutreach.com/ceres/faq.php. The user will click on the "Submit Request" option listed on the bottom of the webpage, and then select "water conservation" as your topic. Once the personal information has been filled out, the resident should enter "Requesting water audit" in the description section and submit. A water conservation employee will call to schedule an appointment.
In addition, the city will only allow water waivers for the following reasons: health and safety, livelihood and irrigation maintenance. If residents are planning to install new sod the city will not grant a waiver to water daily and should plan accordingly. For a complete list of the new watering rules, regulations and programs the City of Ceres, visit the City of Ceres Water Conservation website at www.ci.ceres.ca.us/213a.html
To report Water Wasters or get free help with setting of your irrigation timers call the Public Works Office at 538-5732.