SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) – With the Bay Area and California facing a major drought, water conservation efforts remain missed in a county in North Bay, according to water authorities.

The Marin Water District urges customers to reduce consumption by 40%. But in the past week the customers of the only one have reduced their consumption by 11%.

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“It takes a while for behavior to change. And we know people are hearing the message. We believe that the level of protection will increase, ”said Jeanne Mariani-Belding, spokeswoman for Marin Water.

Mariani-Belding said that while it is difficult to change behavior, the maintenance level is slowly increasing. This week customers saved 11% from 8.9% two weeks ago.

The spokesman said customers need to accelerate the pace of conservation efforts.

“In the summer months, nature conservation is of crucial importance, as we normally see a doubling in water consumption,” Mariani-Belding told KPIX 5.

Marin Water is the largest operator in Marin County, serving 191,000 people.

Last month, Marin Water’s board passed more than a dozen water restrictions, including limiting spray irrigation to two days a week, banning outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and banning car washes at home.

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Over the next month, the water board could add more restrictions, such as limiting spray irrigation to just one day a week.

“I think it’s very difficult for people like me who have vegetable gardens where we grow food that we eat all year round. So it affects our food budget if we have to let all these plants die, ”said Shirley Fischer, a Marin Water customer.

Fischer understands the urgency to save water, but believes the water reserve has gone too far.

“We put buckets in the shower. We made the “if it’s yellow, leave it soft” routine. But I don’t think that 40% will be an achievable amount, ”said Fischer.

Marin Water said the 40% figure is a district-wide goal. They acknowledged it was a high bar but reminded people that they were facing an historic drought.

A North Bay farmer told KPIX 5 that the drought was so bad that he was selling his calves. There is not enough water on his farm to feed his herd of 120 cattle.

“We usually sell them in July, mid-July. We sell these calves on Monday. So let’s do it about 45 days early. And from then on we will likely reduce our herd of cows by 20 to 30 percent, ”said Mike Giammona, a farmer at Millerton Creek Ranch.

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Marin Water said they want to focus on educating the public about conservation. But people violating the water restrictions could face fines of up to $ 250.