Marin County Considers Imposing Home Watering Restrictions

Almost 200,000 Marin County residents may be under mandatory water conservation restrictions in a couple of weeks. Kenny Choi reports. (4-8-21)

Video Transcript

ALLEN MARTIN: Could be new limits to watering your lawn in Marin. Close to 200,000 residents may be under mandatory water conservation restrictions in a couple of weeks. KPIX 5's Kenny Choi on this year's dry conditions and that potential mandate. Kenny?

KENNY CHOI: Allen, this would be one of the first concrete steps in addressing the extremely dry conditions over the last two years. If this proposal is approved, it would be the first time that this area would be under mandatory conservation rules in more than 30 years. Watering lawns this year could be dramatically reduced if newly proposed rules are approved in the midst of ongoing dry conditions.

BEN HORENSTEIN: Wear your withered lawn with pride that you're supporting the community in this call for action.

TOM BOUGHTON: We're a pretty wasteful culture. And, you know, it's-- we live in an area that the droughts are getting worse and worse.

KENNY CHOI: Rainfall is at historic lows. The district has received only 20 inches since last July, well below the average of 52 inches a year since it began recording data in 1879. It's the second lowest total in more than 140 years.

BEN HORENSTEIN: The nature of the rainfall pattern in the last couple of years actually hit us worse than the snowpack.

KENNY CHOI: Receding water levels at nearby reservoirs tell part of the story. Storage capacity is at historic lows, down to 53% this year.

CYNTHIA KOEHLER: This is really happening now because it looks like we're going to hit that trigger. The trigger for mandatory is that we have storage of 40,000 acre feet.

TOM BOUGHTON: This is a "me first" culture, unfortunately, and it-- you know, I kind of weep for the future. Just too many damn people is the biggest problem.

KENNY CHOI: If the mandatory rules are approved, watering lawns would be limited to one day per week, with towns on an alternating schedule. Washing cars at home with hose nozzles would still be allowed for now. The district's board will vote on the proposal on April 20. And according to the US Drought Monitor, more than 90% of California right now is experiencing at least moderate drought conditions. Live in Tiburon, Kenny Choi, KPIX 5.