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Superintendent Asks Residents To Conserve Water In Yosemite

Dear Wawona and Tuolumne communities and friends:

The stress of drought across parts of America is visible in the national media and when you look at Yosemite, you can see those effects too. After an arid winter and spring, water levels in the South Fork Merced and Tuolumne Rivers continue to decline. Worse, no significant rain is forecast.This week, the water level in the South Fork Merced dipped to 3.47 cfs in the early morning hours. We anticipate that implementation of critical water conservation measures, when the river level drops below 3 cfs, will come in the next few days (see chart below). We’d like to remind everyone that the Water Conservation Plan for Yosemite National Park is in full effect and we need your help to protect water resources.

Conservation information and signs should now be displayed in the Wawona and Tuolumne Campgrounds, Ranger Stations and Entrance Stations. Park visitors and residents should be advised about ongoing drought conditions and water shortages. Fee Collectors and rangers will pass on conservation information during public contact opportunities and during all interpretive programs.

DNC will inform guests of these measures and adhere to conservation measures in the plan. For residents, we continue to ask that you review the Water Conservation Plan and practice these measures in the coming months.

As you know, August and September are often the driest time of the year and they also coincide with some of the highest visitation levels at Yosemite.

In order for Yosemite to meet the domestic water demands of the Wawona District, water from Yosemite Valley must be transported to the Wawona Water Treatment Plant daily. To help prepare for the reduced volume of water available, the National Park Service will award a temporary contract to provide the non-potable water to the Wawona and Tuolumne Meadows water treatment plants.

The volume of water that needs to be transported is dependent upon the success of the conservation efforts in these communities. The single largest factor influencing reduction in demand in Wawona is the prohibition on irrigation.

Domestic water use takes precedence over irrigation. When the water level drops below 3cfs, all irrigation of the Wawona lawns from the Wawona Water
System will cease in order to conserve water. We’ll continue to use reclaimed water for the golf course.

Key water conservation measures to remember:

  • Ensure faucets, toilet, pipes, and other water sources do not leak.
  • Take shorter showers and install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors.
  • Don’t let the water run when brushing your teeth or shaving, use a wash basin.
  • Don’t let the faucet run while preparing food or cleaning, and use your automatic washing-machine only for full loads.
  • Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks, and steps, and don’t run the hose while washing your car.
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it, do so when cool and avoid watering on windy days.

For a complete list of conservation measures, refer to appendix B in the Water Conservation Plan. If you have any questions, contact District Ranger Eric Scott at: 209-375-9520.

We thank you for your continued attention to this very timely and important issue. We will continue to update you as we learn new information about this drought and how to best protect the water ecosystems of Yosemite National Park.

– Don Neubacher, on behalf of the Executive Leadership Team

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