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Amid drought, Pismo Beach enacts water-use restrictions

Angel Russell
Water-use drought related restrictions are back in Pismo Beach

As a dry and hot summer looms, nearly all of California is in some stage of drought, and a Central Coast city is responding by imposing water-use restrictions.

The rainy season failed to produce much this season, and with dwindling water and rising temperatures, Pismo Beach Public Works Director Ben Fine said it's time to take action.

“We are in a drought now, we don’t know how long that drought will be, we don’t know how long this drought will go on for," Fine said. "We figured it was better to be proactive and really get the message out and have people conserve, so we don’t run into a dire situation in the future.”

Similar to the restrictions imposed in 2014, several water-use rules are now in place, including no outdoor irrigation like sprinklers between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m;  those washing cars or boats need to have hand-controlled water shut-off devices; and restaurants can only serve water when specifically requested.

“It’s funny, people hear this one and they think it’s ridiculous that we are saving 16 oz. of water, but that’s not the point," Fine said. "The point is not the 16 oz. in the glass, it’s the amount of water it takes to wash the glass. Every glass put on the table now needs to be washed, and it takes a lot more water to wash it than to actually fill it.”

Other rules include that no water can be used for cleaning driveways, patios, parking lots, sidewalks, and streets, except by the city contracted street sweeper, or where necessary to protect the public health and safety.

Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water is prohibited. Fine said anyone who violates these restrictions will first receive a warning letter, and subsequent offenses will be met with an increasing fine, starting at $100.

“We don’t want to do that, that’s not the point of the program," Fine said. "The point is to make people aware.”

Fine said the length of these restrictions and whether or not additional restrictions will get added on will all depend on what happens with continuing drought conditions.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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