Tulare sees lowest ever water level depth

Tulare’s standing water level is 16 feet lower in February 2021 than it was in February 2020

TULARE – Summer temps are already here, the governor has declared the state is in a drought and now water levels in parts of the county are hitting historic lows.

As early as April 27, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution proclaiming the existence of a local emergency due to severe drought conditions in Tulare County. On May 10 Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for Tulare County. Now, according to a staff report to the Tulare ‘s public utilities board, “The city’s water well levels support both declarations.”

The report says in February 2021, the average standing water level depth of the city’s wells was 194.7 feet, more than 16 feet deeper than February 2020. At no point in the city’s history has the water level depth been that low in the month of February than it was in February 2021.

In October 2020, the average standing water level depth of the city’s wells was 212.0 feet, also setting a historical mark for lowest ever water level depth for the month of October.

As a result the city announced they have moved into Stage 3 of their water conservation ordinance.

Demand spikes 34%

The city also experienced a major surge in potable water production this April compared to April 2020. In April 2020, the city pumped 349,018,100 gallons. In April 2021, the city pumped 467,344,100 gallons, which represents a net change of 33.9%.

On May 21 the public utilities board adopted a revised water conservation ordinance. The revised water conservation chapter was passed by city council on July 7, 2020 and took effect on Aug. 20, 2020.

Section 7.32.030 of the ordinance authorizes and directs the public utilities board to, “implement the applicable provisions of this chapter upon the [b]oard’s determination supported by its findings that the implementation is necessary to protect the public welfare and safety including without limitation the city’s long- or short-term water supply and water quality.”

The report concludes that, “Given both the local and state drought declarations, staff is requesting that the board declare implementation of Stage 3 of the Water Conservation Ordinance.” The board met June 3.

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