SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento City Council voted to enforce mandatory water restrictions on Sacramento residents in an effort to conserve water Tuesday.
Residents will be required to use 20 percent less water, which equates to about 84 fewer gallons of water per person per day. The order takes effect immediately.
Residents who do not comply could face fines from $50 to $1,000. Brent said a first offense will result in a warning and education about the water cuts. The fines will increase with each offense.
During the meeting, Sacramento Department of Utilities Director Dave Brent said the city needs to take action and declare a water shortage.
As part of the "Water Shortage Contingency Plan," residents will be asked to only water outdoors once a week on Saturdays or Sundays. They are also asked to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth, which can save about two gallons per minute, according to city officials.
The city will also be cutting back on irrigation at city parks and medians.
"That 20 percent reduction will be huge in helping to make sure we have adequate water supply - not only today with the reduced flows in the American River, but also as we move forward into the spring and summer months," Sacramento Department of Utilities spokesperson Jessica Hess said.
If city can meet the 20 percent reduction, Brent said will make it to the summer without water concerns. If unsuccessful, the city will have to move to the next stage of the contingency plan, which included more drastic water cuts.
Council members said during Tuesday night's meeting that educating the public on the restrictions and how they will be measured will be key to the cutbacks. Council member Steven Hansen said the city and council members need to lead by example. Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby planned to hold water forums where can residents voice their concerns.
In Sacramento, 80 percent of water use is residential. Business, city and irrigation accounts for the other 20 percent of water use, Brent said.