Tracy Talks: Drought emergency is everyone's problem
by Anne Marie Fuller
Feb 13, 2014 | 2240 views | 1 1 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The “pitter patter” sound of the rain dropping all over Tracy last week was welcomed with enthusiasm, as we are facing a drought. On Jan. 17, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency.

Now imagine the concern when local residents saw park sprinklers going off in the middle of a downpour.

Several community members have voiced their concerns, on the Tracy Talks Facebook page, about the perceived wastefulness of water use during periods of steady rainfall. Tracy is home to 72 parks. How does the city manage all those sprinklers?

“Over 95 percent of our parks are controlled by a central control irrigation system,” said Don Scholl, superintendent of parks, sports fields and trees. “The computer talks to the weather station and calculates wind, temperature, humidity and type of plants being watered. With the information, the computer makes adjustments and sends them out. Water may still come on, but it would be very briefly, versus what it may be during summer.”

“We can also make manual adjustments,” Scholl added. “This past weekend, with all the continuous rain, most of the larger parks’ sprinklers were shut down.”

According to the California Department of Water Resources, 2013 was the driest year recorded in history for many areas in California. Also according to the same source, the water being stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins has been declining during the past two years.

Tracy is on a 20 percent voluntary water cut-back. On Jan. 14, the Sacramento City Council voted in favor of a required 20 percent reduction in water use citywide, leaving the door open for other cities to vote on similar methods. In a nutshell, making the act of wasting water a crime.

What does the future hold for our town? What are your thoughts?

• Anne Marie Fuller is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at

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February 13, 2014
I find the entire water shortage thing very frustrating. I have lived in CA my entire life and it has always been this way. Every so often the powers that be start crying that we don't have enough water and need to start conserving. Yet almost every time an opportunity comes up to build more water storage our "leaders" bow to the radical enviro-weenie types rather than looking out for the normal citizens of this state. Its a bit hard to get behind the water conservation efforts when the state leaders have failed to act to increase water storage at almost every turn. You would think that in the 45 years I have been around they could have solved the problem. Its not even a particularly complex issue. It is a simple engineering problem. Build more damn water storage capacity. It needs to increase at the same rate as the population does.

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