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Windsor imposes mandatory water restrictions

Windsor is taking water conservation to the next level by imposing mandatory restrictions and stepping up “early morning irrigation patrols.”

The Town Council this week declared a Stage 2 water shortage emergency because the initial call for 20 percent voluntary conservation issued in February has fallen short.

While Windsor customers through the end of June cut water use by 15 percent compared to last year, dry conditions require more water stinginess, officials said.

The water saving by residents has been commendable, officials said, but not enough.

“We really need to do more, given the condition of our water supply,” Public Works Director Toni Bertolero told the Town Council prior to the 4-1 vote to impose mandatory restrictions.

Bertolero noted that all water contractors in Sonoma County are moving toward mandatory conservation, particularly after the state emergency regulations that went into effect last month that prohibit water waste and call for potential fines of up to $500 for each day of violation.

Windsor decided to keep its maximum fine at $112 per violation, and Town Council members made it clear they aren’t looking to be heavy- handed.

“Our focus is more on compliance than penalties. We’re trying to educate,” Councilwoman Robin Goble said. “We’re not anxious to go out and fine them.”

“You give them a warning ... ‘We are in a drought, and here’s the things you can’t do,’ ” is how Mayor Bruce Okrepkie said violators will be treated.

Windsor called for “Stage I” voluntary conservation earlier this year after Gov. Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought and asked for 20 percent cutbacks.

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