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Incentives offered for water reduction

By: Lauren Weber, The Press-Tribune
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Because March and April did not shower the Roseville area with rain, the city is urging residents to conserve water. At last week’s city council meeting, Derrick Whitehead, director of environmental utilities, and Lisa Amaral, water conservation administrator, discussed options residents have for cutting their water use and rebates offered for water conservation. The city recently declared a Stage 1 conversation level and called for a 10 percent water consumption reduction, which is 7 percent more than what is needed to call off the drought, but will prepare residents for a future request by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to conserve water. “There’s legislation floating around in Sacramento that they want us to reduce the per capita usage by 20 percent by the year 2020; this legislation is also endorsed by the governor,” Whitehead said. The Stage 1 conservation for Roseville was not only called for because of two dry years, but also in part because of a 25 percent decrease in Roseville’s water supplied from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the country’s largest merchant of water. Because of a decrease in water availability Whitehead said the city weighed three options to try to deal with the situation. One solution was to purchase water from the Placer County Water Agency, the second was to declare a Stage 1 conservation level, encouraging residents to watch their water usage and the last option was a combination of the two by calling for conservation and purchasing water if needed. “To start getting folks to think about the need to reduce the amount of water that they use on a day to day basis, we decided that it was the right thing to do. So we move forward and suggest to implement a Stage 1 conservation level,” Whitehead said. The city has asked residents to do simple changes to reduce their water use such as turning off the spigot while brushing teeth, not hosing down streets, parking lots and driveways unless there is a public health concern and to turn sprinkler settings back a minute or two. “Basically what we’re trying to do is tighten the awareness of our customers on how they use water,” Whitehead said. “This is something that we should be doing all the time anyway. Water is a finite resource,” Mayor Jim Gray told councilmembers. To promote using water sparingly, the city has developed rebate programs for residents and assistance with cutting water waste. “We have put into place many programs that are in essence free for our customers benefits,” Whitehead said. The city offers “water-wise house calls” where a trained water-use specialist will come to residences, review water use and recommend cutbacks. Rebates for the purchase of high-efficiency and ultra low-flush toilets are available for implementing a more environmentally friendly flush. Roseville Electric offers water and energy audits online and includes tips for reducing utility bills. For people with pools, swimming pool cover rebates are available. “Pools can lose from 10,000 to 15,000 gallons of water per year. So covering the pool and using it regularly, that’s the most important thing,” Amaral said. “We’re offering a $50 rebate for a regular pool cover and up to a $200 rebate for a mechanical pool cover, which of course makes it easier and more likely that people will implement that and continue to utilize it.” With the summer heat creeping in and no forecast for rainfall on the horizon, the Stage 1 conservation level is designed to make Roseville residents and businesses aware of ways water can be saved on a daily basis. In Mayor Gray’s eyes, water is “California’s gold.” For more information water conservation go to www.rose-ville.ca.us/savewater or call 774-5761.