Local News

What Fullerton Can do About the Drought

An Interview with Delaney Cosgrove, Fullerton’s Water Quality Specialist

Can you briefly describe the seriousness of the drought? How does it compare with previous droughts?

Cosgrove: California is currently in an unprecedented drought. Not only are we entering a third year of below average precipitation in California, but the Colorado River has also been experiencing drought conditions since 2020. The Bureau of Reclamation that oversees the Colorado River Basin, has declared drought on the Colorado River for the first time in the agency’s history. This means that both of southern California’s water sources are being threatened at the same time. With summer just around the corner, this could be the most impactful drought Southern California has seen in decades.

Can you describe what Fullerton is doing to address the drought?

Cosgrove: The city of Fullerton will be increasing our drought response to Level 2 starting in June. This is in response to Governor Newsom’s executive order. The drought response team has set a conservative goal to meet a 20% water use reduction compared to 2020 until the State sets a required water savings standard for Fullerton. City staff in Parks and Recreation and the Landscaping Division have created a list of parks that will receive reduced watering based on the existing landscaping and the active turf fields used for recreation. We will also be increasing our outreach efforts to customers via social media, the community newsletter, and we will also have a booth at the Fullerton Market on the third Thursday of every month.

Can you describe what water restrictions for both the City and residents (if any) are currently in effect?

Cosgrove: Currently the permanent water restrictions are still in effect. These permanent restrictions include not allowing excess water to run off onto paved surfaces such as sidewalks and streets, as well as requiring hoses to have a positive shut off nozzle to avoid water waste. In June, Fullerton’s drought response will increase to Level 2 drought restrictions. The most impactful restriction to commercial and residential customers will be the three-day per week watering restrictions. Customers will be assigned watering days based on their address. This restriction is put in place to help us meet the 20% reduction goal. We will be sending notification to residents about additional restrictions and watering days in June once City Council has approved the Level 2 drought restrictions.

What more can residents do to conserve water?

Cosgrove: Up to 60% of residential water use goes to outdoor irrigation. A great way to save water is converting lawns and gardens to become drought tolerant landscaping. Currently the rebate available for turf replacement is $2 per square foot. For residents who are not looking to convert their lawn to drought tolerant landscapes, customers can try to reduce their irrigation cycles by two minutes. Many residents do not realize that they overwater their grass and dialing back their watering time could potentially save up to 20% of outdoor water use. Other rebates available for residents include flow meters, high efficiency clothes washers, and smart sprinkler controllers.

More information on rebates can be found at www.SoCalWaterSmart.com. When customers take advantage of available rebates and reduce watering time, they also save money on their water bill. 

If customers have any questions about drought restrictions or available rebates, they can call (714) 738-6744 or email Waterconservation@cityoffullerton.com.

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3 replies »

  1. “permanent restrictions include not allowing excess water to run off onto paved surfaces such as sidewalks and streets” — this is certainly not being enforced, maybe we should start there. Irrigation is the biggest consumer, and converting to more drought tolerant landscapes is a necessary but not realistic ask of residents in the short term as it takes time and money. But, some people could probably cut their watering time in half if their sprinkler systems were putting all the water on lawns instead of soaking the street. I am blown away at the amount of water I see running down the curb in our neighborhood every morning while taking the dog for a walk.

  2. These are all standard issue. What more can be done? Just received notification from city RE more hikes in water rates. Two issues: 1) City officials: Just call them hikes, not “adjustments.” We’re adults; 2) The formula outlined is nearly incomprehensible. Please simplify the language so we dolts can calculate our use and our bills/budgets. Lastly, might have missed it, but would love to see Observer do a piece on the July hikes and the notifications we received.

  3. well 1st how bout using the fullerton food basins to collect water instead of weeds. If you used the basin as water storage whe wells would stay full and you would have plenty of water. 2nd how much of fullertons parks, golf courses and common areas use recycled water? 3. can recycled water be placed in the weed basins I mentions and let the water go back into wells further purifying the water?