The news about water Tuesday wasn't good.
Santa Cruz Water Conservation Manager Toby Goddard told the city council that the city was "in a dry period the likes of which the city hasn't seen before."
Last year was the driest on record, not just in Santa Cruz, but throughout California, he told them. It's so dry, that people who signed up for a program to collect rain in barrels haven't had any rain to collect.
"2014 is shaping up to be the third straight dry year," he said.
Loch Lomond reservoir is at 66 percent of capacity, but the city isn't using it, he said. It's still getting water from the San Lorenzo River, but if things don't get wetter by April, the council may enforce mandatory rationing, something it hasn't done since 1998.
The city is now in what they call a Stage 1 Water Shortage Alert, which means there are fines fo
r violating these mandates, for which fines range up to $500.
1. No Landscape Watering between 10 am and 5 pm. Exceptions: Drip irrigation systems, soaker hoses and watering cans may be used any time of day. Professional gardeners may hand water where no other feasible alternative is available.
2. Hose Nozzles Required. All hoses must be equipped with a shut-off nozzle.
3. No Washing Down Hard or Paved Surfaces. Customers may not wash down sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, patios, or other paved surfaces, except to alleviate immediate safety or sanitation hazards or to prepare paved surfaces for sealing.
4. Swimming Pools. Residential swimming pools may not be initially filled, or drained and refilled. Water level in existing pools may be maintained to ensure continued operation of recirculation equipment.
5. Restaurants and Commercial Food Service Establishments. Drinking water served only upon request.
6. Commercial Lodging Establishments. Hotels and motels must offer patrons the option to forego daily laundering of towels, sheets, and linens.