The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Water News.... From the Desk of Marlene King

Water News…from the desk of Marlene King, Div. 3 Director

The following actions were enacted at the May 21st S.F.I.D. Board of Directors meeting.

Effective June 1, 2015, we are at Water Shortage Response Level 3. Permitted watering schedule shifts from the current three days a week to two days a week. Addresses ending with an odd number, water Sunday and Thursday; ending in an even number, Saturday and Wednesday. (No change to the 10 minutes/station rule.) Repair all water leaks within 48 hours of notification by S.F.I.D. Ornamental fountains that use potable water are prohibited.

  • Administrative fines amounts increased. First violation: Warning Letter. SecondViolation: fine changed from $100.00 to $250.00. Third Violation: fine changed from $200.00 to $500.00. Each Additional Violation: fine changed from $500.00 to $1000.00. Note: Administrative fines begin June 1, 2015.
  • Water Allocations are now in place. As a result of Gov. Brown’s April 1st ExecutiveOrder, and the State Water Resource Control Board’s edict that S.F.I.D. reduce it’s water demand by 36%, the S.F.I.D. Board established water allocations in an effort to achieve the overall goal of a 36% reduction in water demand. (Unfortunately, water usage has not only not gone down, it has actually increased.) Note: Allocations begin with usage as of July 1, 2015.
  • Financial penalties for usage in excess of allocations. If your current water usage, compared to the same billing cycle 2013 year baseline, is over your allocation, a two-tiered penalty system will be in effect: $3.40/hcf for usage up to 15% above your water allocation; $6.79/hcf for usage 15% or above your water allocation. Note: Penalties begin with bills received after September 1, 2015.

How to figure out your water allocation budget, and any possible financial penalties which will apply if your water usage is above your allocation budget:

1. Your 2013 year water usage is the baseline year for determining allocations. You need to get your 2013 usage data. If you don’t know how much water you used in 2013, call S.F.I.D. customer service to get those numbers. (756-2424) You can also go online and create a “User Account” which will provide you with your previous five years of water usage and allow you to compare, via bar graphs, two selected years to compare usage.

2. Calculate your allocation using the following formula: hypothetical example below

August 16 – October 11, 2013 170 units (each unit is 748 gallons or hcf)

less essential usage -15 units

Subject to Reduction 155 units

less 45% - 85 units

Essential Usage + Outdoor Allowance 15 units + 85 units

Total Allocation 100 units

Possible Allocation Surcharge Penalty: If your water usage for the same time period, August 16 – October 11, 2015, in this hypothetical example, is 100 units or less, you are not subject to any surcharge. If your hypothetical usage for August 16 – October 11, 2015 was 100 to 115 units, (up to 15% in excess of allocation), you will be charged an additional $3.40/unit for those units. Any usage in excess over 115 units would be charged an additional $6.79/unit for those units.

  • Remember – Allocations begin with water usage starting July 1, 2015, therefore the earliest bill which would reflect the allocation would be your September 2015, bill, since we are billed every two months. As noted above, the penalties for usage over the total allocation amount become effective with bills received after September 1,2015.
  • I know this might sound confusing, complicated, and unfair - you name it. The fact of the matter is Gov. Brown has declared that fines of up to $10,000/day can be assessed to the S.F.I.D. if we do not reduce our total water usage by 36%.
  • Use this month of June to get a handle on your usage. Get your 2013 baseline year data. Take the lid off your water meter, (be on the look out for spiders), and take a couple of daily or weekly readings of your meter so that you can get a better estimate of the effect of the Mandatory Water Shortage Response Level 3 regulations on your current water usage. Do a little math…get a sense of how this year’s water usage stacks up against your 2013 baseline usage. (Remember, you will always be comparing the same billing cycle – 2013 against 2015.) Some extra work now, in June, spent reading your meter and calculating your allocation numbers, will go a long way to preventing unpleasant surprises when you open your September bill.

As your Santa Fe Irrigation District Div. 3 Board representative, give me a call or email if you need further assistance in understanding the allocation formula. The District will be sending out mailings, but I do not suspect they will get them out starting June 1st, and the sooner you get a handle on your water allocation and usage, the sooner you can use the entire month of June to tweak your irrigation system to contribute your part to achieving the 36% overall District reduction, without surprising yourself with unexpected financial penalties.

Marlene King 759-1306