SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

As of May 1, the city of Santa Cruz is implementing water rationing and customers will be penalized for going over the allotted amount.

The water department says this city is more than ready, however - in fact it's ahead of the game in terms of conservation.

The city is conserving so much water, the water district says it doesn't have to save nearly as much water as it did during the drought of 1977, when the technology wasn't as advanced.

During the rationing phase which runs from May to October, residents have to reduce use to 60 gallons a day per person. That's over 7,400 gallons a month and if customers exceed that, they will suffer penalties of $25 to $50 depending on how much they go over.

The water department says residents will feel the pinch mostly for outdoor irrigation.

Long time resident and former mayor Emily Reilly said she's found a way to save so she can bathe and water her garden at the same time..

"I'm going to out a sub pump in the batub and run a hose out my bathroom window so I can pump some water into a garbage can and use that to water the garden," Reilly said.

Businesses don't fall under the stage 3 water restrictions because that's a part of the city's effort to keep the economy going. There is an exception if the businesses have outdoor irrigation of some kind.