New water rules

With the state in the middle of a fourth consecutive year of drought, Sacramento lawmakers will impose new mandatory water conservation rules, which will impact not only homeowners, but businesses in hospitality. The rules take effect April 15, and violators could be fined up to $500, on the discretion of area cities, counties, and water districts. These rules are:

The proposed legislation includes $1 billion in relief spending, to include $128 million for communities suffering from severe water shortages, and $272 million for safe drinking water and water recycling.

These new regulations will have no impact on Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn.

“We’ve been doing that for quite a while at both the restaurant and in the hotel,” General Manger Bill Putnam said. At the beginning of last summer, when it was obvious we were in the middle of another drought year, we decided to go green. It just made sense to give our guests the option.”

When it comes to landscaping, even though the hotel has its own wells and a natural spring, they are still being conservative in maintaining the greenery.

In January 2014, Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. declared a drought State of Emergency, calling on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20%. Initially, state residents had cut their water usage by 22% through December 2014, however, residents are falling way short in meeting the suggested guideline.

In the most recent water survey by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the northern Sierra snowpack was at 4.4 inches, 16% of average for early March. This may be the smallest snowpack on record for the state, and may result in private wells in rural areas running dry, and the very real possibility of an alarming, grim fire season.

For tips on conserving water, visit California’s efforts to deal with the effects of the drought can be found at

- Staff report