GRANITE BAY - In the San Juan Water District, customers have already been asked to reduce their water use by 20 percent. Wednesday night, they voted to ask people to stop outdoor watering completely. For now it's strictly voluntary, but that could change if drought conditions don't improve.
"This is a critical water emergency situation right now," San Juan Water District General Manager Shauna Lorance said.
Folsom Lake levels are so low now that conservation efforts in the district could become much more drastic in the next couple of months.
The San Juan water district provides water to residential and some commercial areas including Citrus Heights, Orangevale, and Fair Oaks.
"If we don't get a significant amount of rainfall in the next four to six weeks, then we're going to run into the necessity to move to a Stage Five," Lorance said.
Stage Five is a level of water emergency that could lead to extreme measures, like calls for water reduction as high as 50 percent.
San Juan's board meetings often see only a handful of spectators, but worries of a water shortage drew a packed house Wednesday night.
"It seems to me that a reduction of indoor water use to 50 percent is Draconian, and I wonder how you could even keep up adequate hygiene with that," said John Hester, the president of a local homeowners association.
For now the only immediate change is the request to voluntarily stop outdoor watering, but officials are planning for the worst case scenario.
"After tonight we'll be looking at how to identify what's the right amount of water for indoor use so that we can identify what tiered rates would look like; what would fees be for people if they don't follow the rules," Lorance said.
The San Juan district says a public hearing is required before they could legally change water rates. Next Tuesday, Sacramento will also considering imposing mandatory 20-percent cuts on water use, but how they might enforce those cuts remains unclear.