Drought, Water Shortages & Water Conservation
Current Water Conditions: Do Not Waste Water
Water Supply Reliability is Changing
Nevada City depends on rain and snow that generally falls from late October through March for our drinking water year-round. Historical precipitation and water use records used to be fairly reliable when planning for future water supply. But more recent documented changes in local snowpack, precipitation, and temperatures show that is no longer the case.
With more of our precipitation likely falling as rain instead of snow, and warmer temperatures causing decreased snowfall to melt faster and earlier, water supply is likely to become more unreliable. In addition, drought is predicted to become more common. This means less water available for use over the long run, and additional challenges for water supply reliability, especially during periods of extended drought.
Nevada City: Committed to More Sustainable Water Use
Nevada City has been aggressive in its efforts to reduce the City’s demand for water, and to move toward more sustainable water use. The City applied for and received funding from the California Department of Water Resources through Proposition 84 to improve its water infrastructure and increase water conservation. These efforts are paying off.
- Leak Detection & Repair: Beginning in 2012, the City undertook a major effort to identify and repair leaks in its water-delivery system that includes pipes laid down during the Gold Rush.
- Using Recycled or “Reclaimed” Water: In 2015, the City began using recycled water to run its wastewater treatment operations. Wastewater is treated in a state-of-the-art, three-stage process that sufficiently cleans the water for use in scrubbing wastewater treatment equipment, as well as irrigating landscaping at the treatment plant.
- Customer Education: Studies show that residents save more water at home when they can see whether or not their conservation efforts are paying off. To make this information readily available to customers, in 2015, the City began including on its bills comparison water usage data for the previous two years alongside current usage data.
- Community & Public Education: Water use awareness is important in Nevada City, where the population can swell by five times on weekends due to tourism. In 2015 during the first-ever, state-wide, mandated water cutbacks due to drought, special efforts were made to reach all water users. The City:
- Worked with local businesses to get the word out by posting water conservation reminders in downtown businesses, providing printed table cards for restaurants, and in-room linen-change cards for hotels.
- Placed electronic signs at strategic locations in the City alerted community members and visitors to the need to conserve water during the drought.
- Sponsored drought workshops focused on cutting back outdoor water use – the fastest way to achieve savings during drought – and encouraged planting drought-tolerant gardens.
- City funds helped support the Great Water Mystery, the South Yuba River Citizen’s League’s engaging, interactive, in-school mystery story designed to encourage kids to incorporate simple water conservation techniques into their daily habits.
saveourwater.com (State website with extensive conservation information)
saveourwaterrebates.com (State rebates for toilet upgrades and turf replacement)
ResetYourController.com (irrigation controller information for homeowners)
cuwcc.org/Resources/for-consumers (home water audit, landscaping and other how-to info)
acwa.com (Association of California Water Agencies; good overview information)
water.ca.gov/climatechange/ (State website with current climate research)