Marin County weighs stringent water restrictions as drought persists

Water is pumped into an irrigation canal at an almond orchard on April 24, 2015 in Firebaugh, California.
Water is pumped into an irrigation canal at an almond orchard on April 24, 2015 in Firebaugh, California. Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

How green is your lawn?

Enjoy it while you can, because water restrictions are in the pipeline in at least one Bay Area county. That would be Marin, where reservoirs are barely half full right now and emergency reservoirs are being put into use.

"Typically for this time of year we see levels of more than 90%," said Marin municipal water District spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding. "So they’re very low, in fact they haven’t been this low in nearly 40 years."

Mariani-Belding told KCBS Radio a vote is set for Tuesday night mandating what are currently voluntary water restrictions, possibly limiting outdoor water into a day or two a week.

"Our community is very conservation minded and we’re asking all of our customers, residential and business customers, to reduce their water used by 40%," she said. "The easiest way to do that would be to cut back on irrigation."

Watering would be limited to early morning or late evening to avoid evaporation, Mariani-Belding added. Small fines for violators are likely. The Marin Municipal Water District is expected to boost conservation rebates, including paying customers $2 to $3 per square foot to remove lawns, up from one dollar.

It’s not just Marin making changes. On Tuesday. Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors is expected to consider water rate hikes.