By JOSH FRIEDMAN
With Lopez Lake at about 30 percent capacity, the city of Arroyo Grande has declared a water shortage emergency and has imposed restrictions on various types of water use.
Under the new rules, residents may not use water to clean driveways, patios, parking lots, sidewalks or streets, unless doing so is deemed necessary to protect public health and safety. Use of water that results in excessive gutter runoff is also prohibited.
Residents who live at even-numbered addresses may only irrigate private and public landscaping, turf areas and gardens on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Those who live at odd-numbered addresses may only use water for such irrigation on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Additionally, outdoor irrigation is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Likewise, residents may not use more water than deemed necessary by the city in order to maintain landscaping.
The city has also imposed a ban on emptying and refilling swimming pools and commercial spas, except when doing so would prevent structural damage or protect public health and safety. Builders are also prohibited from using potable water for soil compaction or dust control purposes as part of construction.
In addition to the restrictions, Arroyo Grande is incentivizing residents to reduce water usage through a cash for grass program. The city is offering residents $1 per square foot of grass removed with a minimal removal amount of 500 square feet and a maximum of 5,000 square feet. Residents participating in the program must replace their grass with drought-tolerant plants, permeable mulch or artificial turf.