BENICIA -- As the Bay Area enjoys the first rains of spring, the City Council got an update last week on Benicia's drought-response plan.
At Tuesday's City Council session, Benicia officials provided more information about the city's forthcoming voluntary water conservation campaign, saying it will focus on educating residents about where water is used at home and easy ways to reduce use.
The campaign will kick off next month.
The focus will be on "small actions" with a primary emphasis on outdoor water use, officials said. However, informational materials will also include a menu of indoor tips so those without landscaping can participate.
The council authorized a voluntary approach to saving water in response to the state's ongoing drought. The goal is to encourage as many residents and businesses as possible to reduce water use by 20 percent.
The drought has hit Benicia hard because the city gets most of its water from the State Water Project, which is currently offline because of the dry conditions.
Mandatory conservation measures are not being considered at this time.
City officials are studying options for a drought surcharge to help pay for purchasing additional Lake Berryessa water. The council has authorized a $900,000 advance from the water enterprise fund to cover the cost of additional water purchases through next year.
Meanwhile, the city will start work soon on an emergency outdoor water-use ordinance, said Carrie Wenslawski of the Public Works Department. An ordinance to require the use of recycled water at construction sites may also be considered, officials said.
Other water conservation outreach steps planned for April include:
Contact staff writer Tony Burchyns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-553-6831. Follow him on Twitter @tonyburchyns.