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As Water Supplies Drop, the Need To Conserve Increases


For months, local residents have been hearing about California's drought and the need for conservation.

To date, Placer County residents and businesses have cut their water use by limiting their outdoor irrigation and embracing new water-saving ideas for indoor water use.

As water managers, we wish that we had better news to share. But, unfortunately, the drought continues and the need for conservation continues - and will until our record of below-average precipitation years is reversed.

The latest news for the Placer County Water Agency is that deliveries from Pacific Gas & Electric's hydroelectric system will be down further this year than we had anticipated. We expect a total reduction of about 40 percent.

To offset this decline, we are pumping maximum amounts of water from the American River to western Placer County and we have activated two emergency wells in the Rocklin area.

Still, despite these efforts, we need residential customers to decrease their water use by a minimum of 10 percent and we encourage customers to strive for 20 percent in the coming months.

The biggest water use for residential customers is outdoor irrigation. We are currently asking our customers to limit their irrigation to two days per week. Additionally, customers can save considerable amounts of water by checking their irrigation systems to ensure that they are working as designed.

Often times, automatic sprinkler systems are activated at night or other times when a homeowner isn't around to check to ensure it is working properly.

Even small cracks in a sprinkler can waste significant amounts of water and often times a sprinkler may end up watering a driveway, sidewalk or fence rather than its intended target. A properly functioning, well-maintained sprinkler system will keep your landscape healthy while making every drop count.  Adjusting your sprinklers to ensure that your landscape watering is applied appropriately is a great first step toward savings.

Indoors, you can save water by remembering to turn off the water while you are doing things like scrubbing dishes, brushing your teeth or shaving.

Some other indoor ways to save:

  • Limit showers to 5 minutes or less.
  • Install high-efficiency appliances such as toilets, showers and faucets, dishwashers and clothes washers.
  • Check plumbing and appliances for leaks and fix them within 48 hours.

 Our website,, has great additional ways to save.

 The dry summer months ahead of us will test all of us as we fight the California drought. In today's world, the news moves from subject to subject quite quickly.

 But this drought requires maintaining our focus day in and day out. Every action you can take - big or small - will make a difference toward ensuring that we have enough water to meet our water needs in the weeks and months ahead. 

David A. Breninger is General Manager of the Placer County Water Agency. For more information, visit

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