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The original item was published from 10/20/2021 4:35:09 PM to 1/1/2022 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: October 20, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Arroyo Grande City Council Declares Stage 1 Water Shortage Emergency

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ARROYO GRANDE, CALIFORNIA – The Arroyo Grande City Council unanimously declared a Stage 1 Water Shortage Emergency on October 12, 2021. A Stage 1 emergency was declared as a result of the ongoing severe drought conditions, low Lopez Reservoir levels and resulting reductions in deliveries of water from Lopez Lake. In addition, reduced groundwater levels are a continuing concern causing a reduction in groundwater pumping. These conditions contributed to the need for mandatory water use restrictions and the adoption of a Stage 1 Emergency. 

This action will require all customers to reduce water usage by a certain percentage compared to the same billing period in 2020, referred to as the baseline. Customers will be notified of their baseline via letter on or before December 1, 2021. Warning letters will begin being sent with the February and March 2022 billing.

Residential customers will be required to reduce consumption by a certain percentage based upon their billing tier: Tier 1 customers with bi-monthly usage of 0 – 9 units will not be required to reduce consumption, but cannot increase usage above their assigned baseline; Tier 2 customers with bi-monthly usage of 10 – 18 units will be required to reduce consumption by 7%; and Tier 3 customers with bi-monthly usage of 19 units or more will need to reduce usage by 14%. This structure allows residents to choose how to utilize their water rather than mandate specifically how reductions are achieved. Commercial/Institutional customers with separate irrigation meter accounts will have to reduce water use by 25%.  

Mandatory financial penalties will be levied on all water users who fail to reduce consumption in the percentages required, starting with a written notice of violation and increasing incrementally to a $200 fine. There will be an option to attend ‘Water School’ in lieu of paying the first financial penalty of $50. This option is only available once for the $50 fee, whereas additional financial penalties must be paid in full.

Declaration of a Stage 1 Water Shortage Emergency and the required reductions in water use will help preserve the limited water supply resources available to the City. Based on the current conditions and concerns regarding the anticipated prolonged drought, the City Council is implementing reductions in water usage which are necessary and appropriate to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public of the City of Arroyo Grande.

For more information about the City’s water conservation programs and incentives, please visit

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Whitney McDonald, City Manager

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