Right now, the creeks that feed the Yurok Tribe’s public water systems are flowing at low levels that normally don’t occur until August or September. Stemming from extreme drought, the scarcity of water in the streams is expected to reach an all-time low before the end of summer. The Tribe is gravely concerned about the lack of water and encourages the community to employ a series of conservation measures (see list below) to ensure that drinking supplies continue to be available to local residents for the longest possible period of time. Earlier this month, the Yurok Tribal Council formed a drought taskforce, which is developing a plan to confront the different challenges posed by the water deficit. Prioritizing tribal elders, the taskforce is preparing for to assist the community in the event of wildfires, drinking water outages and other issues that may arise as a result of the severe drought. During the past month, the Yurok Public Utility District has implemented several upgrades to the water systems, making them as efficient as possible. The Yurok PUD is closely monitoring the six water systems on the reservation. All of the public water tanks have digital sensors, which capture water use data in real time. The Yurok PUD is also taking several actions to preserve supplies. In addition to overhauling the water infrastructure, the Public Utility District will be turning off all unused water meters. All of the recently installed yard hydrants will be turned off too. A contemporary version of the old-time spigot, the yard hydrants are located near frequently visited areas, such as cemeteries, and provide on-demand water for consumption and irrigation. To further preserve water, the Pecwan community laundry facility will be closed on June 28. Between Weitchpec and Wautec, the Yurok Public Utility District serves approximately 255 residents, as well as tribal offices, local schools, and churches. Additional community members draw water directly from the same creeks that feed the public systems. For this reason, it is critical that all residents actively endeavor to conserve water. Never in modern history has there been so little rainfall and snowpack in this region. The Tribe is taking this dire situation seriously and we ask the community to do the same. Please reduce water use as much as is feasible until the Fall rains arrive. Here are some helpful tips for conserving water:
• Take short showers - a 5-minute shower uses 4 to 5 gallons of water compared to up to 50 gallons for a bath.
• Shut off water while brushing your teeth, washing your hair and shaving and save up to 500 gallons
• Use a water-efficient showerhead. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750
gallons a month.
• Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons
• Water vegetable gardens only when necessary.
• Fix leaky toilets and faucets. Faucet washers are inexpensive and take only a few minutes to
replace. To check your toilet for a leak, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank and wait. If it
seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it or replacing it with a new, more
efficient model can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
• Teach your kids about water conservation to ensure a future generation that uses water wisely.
Make it a family effort to reduce next month's water bill!