Water-use restrictions announced | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Water-use restrictions announced

by Andy Bourelle

The South Tahoe Public Utility District last week finalized the water-usage restrictions its constituents would have to abide by this summer.

In action taken Thursday, the board agreed to allow landscape irrigation only from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. starting June 1. Penalties for violations also were increased, and the district will have three water educators patrolling South Shore this summer enforcing the rules.

While the regulations apply mostly to outside irrigation, the district this summer also will be encouraging people to cut down on all water usage.

“We can enforce sprinkler system irrigation, but we really need people’s help inside the house. We can’t police what is going on inside the house,” said Dawn Forsythe, STPUD information officer. “We hope we can get the message across that this is serious enough we need voluntary help, too.”

The need for water restrictions comes as a result of MTBE contamination on South Shore. With more than one-third of its wells shut down because of MTBE, the district lacks the infrastructure to provide for all of the summer water demand.

South Lake Tahoe and Meyers residents serviced by other companies or private wells likely will not need to worry about water restrictions.

STPUD – which supplies water to about 30,000 people normally, as many as 60,000 people in the summer – plans to go to Stage 2 restrictions June 1. The need to be more restrictive may be necessary later in the summer, according to the district.

The water plan now includes the following rules:

n Stage 1, normal conditions (effective now).

n Water users shall not allow water to flow from their property onto nearby impervious surfaces, such as the street, or nearby properties.

n Water users shall repair all leaks in plumbing and irrigation systems.

n Hoses cannot be used for washing vehicles without a shut-off nozzle attached to the hose.

n All water users are encouraged to report to STPUD all signs or indications of water leaks or water waste.

n The use of water to irrigate non-landscaped, natural vegetation or undeveloped property is prohibited unless necessitated by fire-prevention considerations.

n Stage 2, minor water supply shortage (effective June 1).

n Lawn and landscape irrigation shall be permitted only between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., except for lawns planted within 30 days of the commencement of Stage 2. Irrigation is allowed at all times of the day if any of the following are used: a hand-held hose; a hand-held, faucet-filled bucket of less than 5 gallons; or a drip soaker-type irrigation system.

n Water shall not be used to wash down sidewalks, driveways, parking lots or other areas of impervious land coverage.

n All establishments where food or beverages are sold shall serve water to their customers only when requested.

n Stage 3, supply shortage (may be necessary later this summer).

n Irrigation is prohibited on weekends. Designated irrigation days shall be established which require houses whose street addresses end with an even number to irrigate on even-numbered weekdays. Odd-numbered addresses must water on odd weekdays.

n Filling outdoor swimming pools which are not covered when not being used is prohibited.

n The operation of any ornamental fountain or similar decorative water structure is prohibited unless a recycling system is used, and a notice to the public explaining its recycling use is prominently displayed.

n Violations.

n First-time violators will receive a warning.

n A $100 fine will be added to second-time violator’s next bill.

n Third-time violators will face a $200 fine.

n The district will issue a $500 fine for fourth-time violators and may discontinue water service.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.