By James Lanaras
Bay City News Service
The Marin Municipal Water District has called for an immediate, voluntary 25 percent reduction in water use by residents.
The district's board of directors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday calling for the reduction, and expressed its support for Gov. Jerry Brown's request for all state residents to reduce water use 20 percent.
The board also agreed to form a drought task force and explore long-term water supply options. The district said Marin County received only 10.68 inches of rain in 2013 -- the lowest amount in any calendar year in the district's history.
The prior record was 19 inches in 1929. Marin County receives an average of 52 inches of rain a year, district spokeswoman Libby Pischel said.
The water district's seven reservoirs were at 55 percent capacity on Jan. 16, which is 30 percent lower than the average for that date.
There will be no change in the water rates with the voluntary reduction plan, Pischel said.
The water district's board can impose mandatory 25 percent water use reduction requirements if water storage levels in the reservoirs on April 1 fall below 40,000 acre-feet, Pischel said.
The district will supply weekly updates on drought conditions and water storage levels, Pischel said.
In his State of the State address today, Gov. Brown said, "We need every part of the state to conserve water."
"We need regulators to balance water rules and enable voluntary transfers of water, and we must prepare for forest fires," Brown said.
He said water recycling, expanded storage and serious ground water management must all occur.
"We do not know how much our current problem derives from the build-up of heat trapping gases, but we can take this drought as a stark warning of things to come," Brown said.
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