Drought Conditions and Water Conservation
About the Drought:
For many parts of California, 2013 came to a close as the driest year on record. With below-average rainfall in 2014, that trend is continuing.
Surface water is rapidly depleting and groundwater is being pulled from the ground faster than it’s recharging.
These abnormally dry conditions led Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. to declare a state of emergency Jan. 17 and prompted a visit from President Barack Obama in February.
Farmers are already feeling the impacts of the drought. Many are taking significant steps to further conserve what little water they have. Merced County has also taken steps to reduce water use.
Now, the County is asking members of the public to do their part to practice water conservation and make this behavior a part of their daily lives. Included on this page are several tips and links regarding the impacts of the drought and how to use water efficiently.
These combined efforts between the County and its residents will be critical as we continue to adjust and manage our way through the current drought conditions. Merced County appreciates your commitment to helping conserve water.
What Merced County is doing and how you can help:
With a severe lack of rainfall this season and worsening drought conditions, Merced County is taking significant steps to curtail water use and encourages the public to do the same.
As our most precious resource, Californians cannot afford to take water for granted. There are solutions being worked on at the State and local levels to improve conservation while being cognizant of the need for adequate water access for agriculture and other essential purposes. As those plans are being considered, Merced County is implementing strategies and procedures of its own that will help to save water immediately.
Efforts are underway by the County to better conserve and manage water through both innovative measures as well as program adjustments. Irrigation at County parks will be reduced, but trees will be monitored and receive more water if they show signs of stress. Measures will also be considered at Castle Commerce Center and other County facilities to reduce watering needs by installing more native plants and groundcover.
Even during normal years, it’s sometimes difficult for water supply to keep up with demand. Residents can conserve a significant amount of water every day by:
- Running washing machines and dishwashers only when full
- Installing aerators on faucets and using low-flow shower heads to cut down on excess water flow
- Checking toilets, faucets and valves for any leaks
- Turning sprinklers off in the winter. Moderately water in the warm months at night
- Shutting off water while brushing teeth or shaving
- Taking shorter showers and avoid baths, which can use up to 70 gallons of water
For more information about Merced County conservation efforts, please contact Management Analyst Mike North at (209) 726-2744 or at