Restaurants in Fort Bragg, Calif., have been banned from using washable dishware and utensils under a new emergency order to cut water use.
All businesses in the city have been directed to fix or turn off any water-using equipment with a leak, and to repair any dripping pipes. Officials said all establishments’ water use will be closely monitored to spot usage levels that suggest a leak, and that places will be alerted to address the problems immediately.
Every commercial water users in the area has been asked by the city council to “be innovative in finding water reductions.”
The directives were issued as a result of what the town has rated a Stage 3 Water Emergency. A four-year drought has depleted the levels of a river and two streams that have supplied the town with potable water. With less volume flowing to the ocean, salt water is back flowing into the fresh-water channels and rendering the lowered levels of water undrinkable.
The city council noted in an emergency news flash that the exclusive use of disposable dishes, cups and utensils is now required of restaurants. The places are also forbidden to serve water to customers unless it’s requested.