Water wise house calls recommended for Folsom residents

By: Kerry Miller, Folsom City Manager
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I recently took a little ribbing from my sister about a Phoenix newspaper report that Folsom has an unusually high water consumption rate. Apparently the erroneous number reported in the Sacramento media was picked up by her local newspaper. Our records show that Folsom residents consume 282 gallons of water per day per person, rather than 381 gallons as reported in one media report. Our usage is comparable to Carmichael’s 283 gallons per day, Roseville’s 273 gallons and Sacramento’s 287 gallons. Although our usage may be in line with our neighbors, it is still higher than it should be. Statistics show that many households in our region use significantly more water than other urban areas. One obvious reason is that most of us pay a fixed fee for water rather than pay for actual water use. That will change in 2012 when all Folsom homes and businesses will be metered as state law requires. In the meantime, examples of wasteful water practices are all around us. Broken sprinklers gush water. Residents hose off porches and patios. Water flows into gutters and storm drains. Lawn sprinklers water sidewalks. During this extremely dry year water conservation is very important. Folsom Lake is at a record level low and snowpack is not replenishing reservoirs. The Governor recently proclaimed a statewide drought and the City is asking water customers to cut water usage by 10 percent. Our water experts say that improper irrigation is the single biggest waste of water. About 60 percent of residential water use is linked to outdoor irrigation, and much of it ends up as run-off. The experts recommend watering every third day between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. They also encourage us to ensure optimal landscape irrigation by properly adjusting automatic irrigation controls. Those who need help determining the most efficient irrigation options may take advantage of a free service that we call Water Wise House Calls. The program provides free analysis of water use and conservation kits. Residents who work during regular business hours can take advantage of new extended service hours on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. I recently scheduled a Water Wise House Call visit at my home and found the suggestions very helpful. A few weeks ago the Telegraph published a letter suggesting that the City correct over-watering on public landscaping before asking residents to cut back on water use. Please be assured that the City is taking corrective steps to conserve water usage in Landscape and Lighting Districts, local parks and on City property. We have made some progress and will continue to monitor and correct problem areas. City staff is working hard to identify and correct public and residential waste water problems. We will soon begin issuing notices along with helpful suggestions for corrective action. I realize that most of us are simply not conscious of our water use. However, consciousness is the first step towards conservation.