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Faced with drought conditions and a shortage water supply allocation from the Central Valley Project with no sign of relief, the Bella Vista Water District Board of Directors adopted Stage 2 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) on March 22, 2021, which seeks 10% required conservation for all non-agricultural customers. Agricultural Customers are even further restricted due to the supply allocation from the Central Valley Project. On May 5, 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation further restricted the water supply available to the District from the Central Valley Project.

The purpose of the adopted conservation measures is to equitably distribute the limited water supply available to the District's customers and to ensure an adequate supply for human consumption, sanitation, and fire protection. The District’s service area covers approximately 53 square miles and serves a population of just under 20,000 which depend on the District daily to provide high-quality and reliable water service.

In April of this year, due to the dry conditions and lack of precipitation, customers collectively used more water than each of the past five years. Customers are strongly urged to use, at a minimum, 10% less water at their homes and businesses than historically used. “It is imperative that each one of us do our part to conserve water now, by utilizing at a minimum, 10% less water in our normal daily use.” said Board Director Frank Schabarum. “We need our customers help to protect the District’s limited water supply. We need to make a conscientious effort to change our water use habits indoors and outdoors.”

Customers that do not conserve 10% of their Historic Use will receive an overuse penalty on their bi-monthly billing. Historic Use is defined as the average use from the prior three unconstrained years, which presently includes the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 as defined by the Central Valley Project Shortage Policy. As part of Stage 2 of the WSCP, the District will increase conservation outreach, enforce water-waste rules and alert high-water users. Conservation is critical this year due to the severely limited supply, dry conditions and increased usage from people who are staying home because of the pandemic. Customers can achieve the 10% required conservation by limiting outdoor water use, lowering the run times on outdoor irrigation controllers and returning to their pre-pandemic water use habits.

According to District Engineer, Wayne Ohlin, only 8,600 acre-feet of water is available to the District from all sources this year, which includes supply from the Central Valley Project Contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, that is diverted from the Sacramento River; water transfers and purchases; and groundwater production from wells located within the District.

It is imperative that customers curtail daily water use by 10% in order to get through this difficult year with the water supply that is available. Failure to collectively achieve the 10% conservation necessary may reduce next years’ supply and may result in more severe restrictions in the hot months to come.

For more information about the District, visit www.bvwd.org.