City officials discuss major conservation efforts as drought continues taking a big toll

By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor

The ongoing drought, which has decimated the agriculture industry and threatens other major industries, was the subject of a long conversation at Tuesday night’s council meeting. The City of Lemoore has always had conservation measures in place, but because of the lack of rain over the course of the last few years, further measures may be needed.

Councilmembers discussed future elimination of parkways and thoroughfare islands as well as reducing extensive landscaping. They also discussed additional water restrictions, such as including an additional “no water” day. Currently residents may not water lawns on Mondays.

Councilmember Willard Rodarmel even recommended outlawing fescue grass, a lawn cover he says requires too much water. “If you really want to cut back, outlaw fescue,” he said.

Lemoore Public Works Director David Wlaschin outlined the current restrictions and ordinances in place covering conservation and said Lemoore is not the only community facing such measures because of drought conditions. “A lot of other cities have the same rules we have,” he said. “And others have implemented additional measures, such as outreach programs.”

He also said council has the option of implementing much more restrictive policies, including raising water rates. “Raising rates is one way of promoting conservation,” he said.

Councilmember Gordon, later in the discussion appeared to agree saying he promotes educational efforts first, but if that fails, harsher actions should be taken. “If that (education) doesn’t work I’d hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook.”

Wlaschin also discussed reducing water use by 25-60 percent in some parks and landscaped areas, eliminating parkways and reduce or eliminate grassy areas in neatly landscaped common areas. “I’d like to see us abandon the parkway strip,” he said. “You lose a lot of water because of these strips.”

City Manager Jeff Laws suggested the city add a “Save our Water” campaign to the city’s website and offer residents tips on conserving water.

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