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Wawona Water Levels Critical

WAWONA – Drought conditions across the state are also affecting Yosemite National Park and those who live and work there. Park Superintendent Don Neubacher is asking Wawona residents to start conserving immediately to ensure sufficient water supply throughout the rest of the season.

A letter sent to residents by Neubacher outlines steps they will need to take for maximum conservation:

This winter and spring have been exceptionally mild with regard to rain and snowfall. Like 2012 and 2013, 2014 will likely go down as one of the driest years on record for Yosemite National Park. As a result, water levels in the rivers and streams are low for June. Current data shows that the water level in the South Fork Merced River is dropping quickly and there is no significant precipitation forecasted in the near future.

Water conservation measures are mandatory when flow rates drop below 6 cubic feet per second (CFS) in the South Fork Merced. As of June 24, the river-gauge has measured below 7 CFS (see chart below) which means that the Wawona community will soon need to implement conservation measures. We anticipate that the South Fork Merced will remain below these levels until significant rainfall occurs. We ask that residents and employees begin implementing the guidance and direction from water conservation plan. There is also a list of recommended measures below.

Attentive conservation measures are our best approach to ensure that water is available where needed for safety and health purposes, as well as protection of park resources. We ask that you consider your water consumption in the coming days and weeks and look for ways to conserve it. We will continue to share more information about the water levels and conservation practices as necessary.

We thank you for your attention and support as we address this important community issue. Through our combined efforts, we can work to maintain a sufficient water supply while still preserving the ecosystems of Yosemite National Park.

Here are some measures we are suggesting you take to help conserve water:

  • If you see a leaky faucet or waterline, please it or let the owner know.
  • Wash vegetables over dish pans and bowls. Reuse leftover water for cleaning or watering of plants, etc.
  • Catch shower water in a clean container while waiting for preferred water temperature. Use this water for cooking, cleaning, watering, etc.
  • Take shorter showers. In the shower, get wet and then turn off the water for showering and cleaning. Restart and use water to rinse. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
  • Only wash clothing when absolutely necessary. Consider using laundry services in other communities that are not under water restrictions.
  • Water will be “on request only” at the Wawona dining room and other restaurants.
  • Lawns around the Wawona Hotel will only be watered in the early morning hours. We will stop watering should extensive conservation measures be put into place.
  • Minimize or discontinue irrigation and car-washing; sweep, rather than wash, sidewalks and driveways.

Merced River Water levels chart June 2014

Water conservation is everyone’s issue. Last year we managed to cut water consumption in half. I believe that together we can achieve similar success in conserving our water this summer.

Don L. Neubacher

Superintendent, Yosemite National Park

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