The drought is a serious issue in Livermore heading into summer, and I want to take it seriously.

The city has imposed mandatory water conservation measures, including limiting watering your yard to twice per week. My lawns are thirsty beasts, and already starting to look dry after a recent heat wave. A cutback in watering might be fatal to my turf.

Other mandatory measures, such as washing my car no more than once per month? No problem. I think that's probably more frequent than I already do. No washing driveways and sidewalks? Good. One less thing my wife can ask me to do. Thankfully, one tough regulation doesn't apply to me: swimming pools must not leak, be over-filled or left uncovered when not in use. All these regulations will be enforced through complaints. In other words, violators better hope they have a good relationship with all their neighbors. If a neighbor turns you in, you can face a formal warning followed by a $100 fine.

Under the new regulations, homeowners with odd street address numbers will be allowed to water up to twice per week, on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, instead of on odd-numbered dates. Residents with even-numbered street addresses can water up to twice a week on Tuesday, Thursdays or Saturdays instead of on even-numbered dates. Watering will not be allowed on Sundays.

I can customize my settings to meet the demands, but if it's only enough to keep my lawn greenish-brown instead of straw-yellow, then why water at all? Why not let it die a quick death?

I'm already fighting to keep up with the Joneses' green lawns in my neighborhood. A cutback in watering feels like it might turn my yard into a wasteland.

Maybe not, however. Some sage advice from my dad, who has always maintained an enviable turf, might get me through the mandatory cutbacks. I used to fertilize my lawn once or twice a year, but my dad recommended every two months.

His other advice for water conservation from his days in the Navy likely won't happen in my household. In the Navy, to conserve fresh water on long voyages, they are taught to turn on the shower just long enough to get wet, then turn it off while applying soap and scrubbing. A quick rinse-off, and the shower is over. No relaxing, thinking about the day to come (or delaying the day to come). I hope it doesn't come to this austerity measure. I care about water shortages in the Tri-Valley. Just not that much. But cut back I must. I will try to remember to shut off the faucet while brushing my teeth.

Livermore residents who don't cut back at least 30 percent on their water use face a penalty on their water bills. To achieve the 30 percent cut, city officials recommend homeowners should cut indoor use by 5 percent and outdoor irrigation by 50 percent. For a complete list of the measures and tips on conservation, visit www.cityoflivermore.net.citygov/drought.asp.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@bayareanewsgroup.com.