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What's Next for Water Conservation?

The District’s customers remain among the top water savers in California, cumulatively saving over 52% (June 2015 thru February 2016) as compared to 2013! We applaud our customers for their impressive commitment to saving water!

Customers want to know what is next after a wet winter – is the drought over?

Storms this winter have brought welcomed rain and snow to Northern California and the Northern Sierras. Reservoirs are filling and some including Shasta and Folsom have released water to comply with flood control requirements. However, as of today, the state is still under the Governor’s Emergency Drought Declaration and the State Water Resources Control Board’s Emergency Conservation Regulation.

In order for the District to revise its shortage response, we needed to know our water supply allocation from the Central Valley Project. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation delayed their determination this year but finally made their Initial Water Supply Allocation Announcement in early April that northern contractors will receive 100 percent of their contract supply for municipal and industrial use (for comparison, last year was 25 percent). Agricultural customers will also receive a 100 percent supply (for comparison, the last two years were 0 percent). This is good news for District customers – we will have enough water to use, but none to waste.

On April 25, 2016, the Board of Directors rescinded the District’s water shortage emergency and took action to revise the shortage level from Stage 3 (Severe Water Shortage) to Stage 1 (Normal Water Supply) and rescinded exceedance penalties in accordance with our Water Shortage Contingency Plan effective May 2nd 2016.

It is anticipated that the State Board will update the statewide Emergency Conservation Regulations at a public meeting on May 18. Many agencies, have submitted comments urging the State Board to rescind the current regulations. We anticipate there will be some relaxation on the state’s regulations, but are not clear on how much. Depending on the outcome, the District may need to consider additional water conservation measures in the future.

More information is forthcoming – but, keep up the good work!

As a reminder, under the current statewide regulation “End-User Requirements in Promotion of Water Conservation” are still in effect and restrict how our customers can use water. These include:

Sec. 864. End-User Requirements in Promotion of Water Conservation.

(a) To prevent the waste and unreasonable use of water and to promote water conservation, each of the following actions is prohibited, except where necessary to address an immediate health and safety need or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a state or federal agency:

(1) The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures;

(2) The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use;

(3) The application of potable water to driveways and sidewalks;

(4) The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system;

(5) The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall;

(6) The serving of drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, cafes, cafeterias, bars, or other public places where food or drink are served and/or purchased;

(7) The irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians; and

(8) The irrigation with potable water of landscapes outside of newly constructed homes and buildings in a manner inconsistent with regulations or other requirements established by the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development.

(b) To promote water conservation, operators of hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily. The hotel or motel shall prominently display notice of this option in each guestroom using clear and easily understood language.

(c) Immediately upon this subdivision taking effect, all commercial, industrial and institutional properties that use a water supply, any portion of which is from a source other than a water supplier subject to section 865, shall either:

(1) Limit outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water to no more than two days per week; or

(2) Reduce potable water usage supplied by sources other than a water supplier by 25 percent for the months of June 2015 through February October 2016 as compared to the amount used from those sources for the same months in 2013.

(d) The taking of any action prohibited in subdivision (a) or (e), or the failure to take any action required in subdivisions subdivision (b) or (c), is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each day in which the violation occurs.  The fine for the infraction is in addition to, and does not supersede or limit, any other remedies, civil or criminal.

(e)(1) To prevent the waste and unreasonable use of water and to promote water conservation, any homeowners’ association or community service organization or similar entity is prohibited from:

(A) Taking or threatening to take any action to enforce any provision of the governing documents or architectural or landscaping guidelines or policies of a common interest development where that provision is void or unenforceable under section 4735, subdivision (a) of the Civil Code; or

(B) Imposing or threatening to impose a fine, assessment, or other monetary penalty against any owner of a separate interest for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawns during a declared drought emergency, as described in section 4735, subdivision (c) of the Civil Code.

WHAT CONSERVATION STEPS TO CONSIDER NOW?

'Drought Proof' Your Home!                                          

Winter rains may have pulled much of California out of the drought. But climatologists tell us that unpredictable weather and more frequent droughts are likely in our future.

“Drought-proofing” your home or business is good planning and good for your wallet. Here are a few ways customers can make their homes and businesses more water efficient.

1. Check for Leaks:

The best way to see if you have a leak is to check your water meter. Turn off all water fixtures such as washers, dishwasher, ice maker, etc. Then read your water meter and write down the reading. Wait one hour and read it again. If the meter dial or numbers changed, then there might be a leak. For instructions on how to read your meter visit our How to Read Your Meter page.

2. Indoor Fixtures:

  • Toilet: If your toilet was installed prior to 1994, consider replacing it with a new WaterSense certified, high-efficiency model.       They use half the water and have a powerful flush. You can get a $100 rebate from the State of California at www.SaveOurWaterRebates.com

  • Clothes Washer: Clothes washers have become very water and energy efficient.       When purchasing, look for one that is “Energy Star Most Efficient” (ESME) rated. This means it is very energy and water efficient.

  • Showerhead: Older showerheads can use more than 2 ½ gallons per minute. Consider replacing with a model that uses only 1.75 gallons per minute.

3. Lose the Lawn, Get a Garden:

If you let your lawn die last summer, consider replacing it with a water-wise landscape. Lawns are the biggest water user at most homes. A typical front lawn will use more than 28,000 gallons in a year, enough water for 1,400 showers! Replace your existing lawn with water-wise landscaping and save up to 14,000 gallons per year. Right now, you can get $2 per square foot of turf removed, with a cap of 1,000 square feet, for a maximum rebate of $2,000 per household by applying for a State of California Turf Replacement Rebate. For information on the rebate programs visit: www.SaveOurWaterRebates.com