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Folsom lifts water restrictions

Officials encourage conservation
By: Eric Laughlin Telegraph correspondent
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Much more snow in the Sierra this year than last will mean fewer water restrictions on Folsom residents this spring and summer. City Manager Kerry Miller recently lifted a Stage 2 Water Alert, meaning residents can go back to watering their lawns more than three days per week. The decision followed an announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that Folsom and other “North Delta” communities (which get their water from Folsom and Shasta reservoirs), would receive full water allocation this year. Despite Folsom’s return to Stage 1, or normal water usage policy, the city’s water conservation experts hope residents will still do their best at conserving, as California as a whole still faces massive water-related concerns. “The bottom line is that we still need to conserve,” said Don Smith, Folsom’s water management coordinator. “There’s always concern that when you lift the restrictions some people will start using more than they’ve been. But I think most of the people in Folsom heard the message last year and the year before.” During the warm months of 2009, the city not only stayed under a Stage 2 Alert, but even reached Stage 3 for a short time, which made for a two day lawn watering cap and required restaurants to serve water only upon request. “It was pretty low last year,” Smith said. “Even with the snow this year though, we’re not out of the woods yet, coming off of three drought years.” And Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Pete Lucero said that despite the wet winter, some communities up and down the state are still facing limits in allocation. “Folsom Lake and Shasta (Reservoir) are performing pretty well at more than 100 percent of a 15 year average,” he said. “But much of the San Joaquin Valley and other areas south of Tracy are still only getting 70 percent allocation.” Lucero said Folsom Lake actually contains less water than it did at this time last year (724,000 acre feet versus 779,000 acre feet), but added that a much healthier projected runoff will make a big difference late in the summer. * * * WATER SAVING TIPS Landscaping represents Folsom’s biggest water demand at about 70 percent, according to Don Smith, city water management coordinator. To conserve water, he recommends: * Avoid runoff or gutter flooding * Repair leaks promptly * Use a shut off nozzle on hoses * Water during coolest hours of day (10 p.m. to 10 a.m.) * Empty and refill pools only when necessary * Landscape with native/drought-tolerant plants