Water Conservation Efforts Continue in Truckee Meadows
Throughout the summer months, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority has asked its customers to voluntarily save cut back on water usage by 10%, compared to what was used in 2013 - the baseline year. Four months in, it has been a successful campaign.
"Customers are responding," Bill Hauck, TMWA Senior Hydrologist said. "They're doing their part. They've met or exceeded our expectations."
August was a hot and dry month. Still, customers saved 9% on water usage. Overall, they have saved 13% since outdoor watering began in the late spring.
"We want to continue to encourage our customers to water, responsibly, and keep doing what they're doing," Hauck said. "They've done a great job, so far, and we're on the home stretch, so to speak."
September is still a high-demand month for water, considered to be part of the summer months when water usage is highest. While demand is not expected to drop yet, the cooler nights and shorter days could play a role in how much people water.
"As it does get cooler, you want to take a look at your times," Andy Gebhardt, TMWA Manager of Customer Services said. "Just as in the spring, you didn't water as much as you do in the heat of the summer. Well, the fall is the same thing."
Despite four years of drought, Hauck says drought reserves are in pretty good shape, but it has taken its toll on area reservoirs.
"Stampede is lower than it's ever been since it was originally built and constructed," Hauck said. "Stampede's never been lower."
A wet and heavy winter could help recharge those reservoirs, but water savings now could go along way if that does not happen.
"Every drop of water we save right now, every gallon that's saved is being held upstream and being reserved for next year," Hauck said.
Outdoor water usage normally begins to taper off during the second and third weeks of October. By November, most people have turned off their irrigation systems. Until then, Hauck says he hopes conservation efforts continue.
"We're well on our way to achieving our goal of saving 5,000 acre feet, upstream," Hauck said. "We're about 95% of the way there."