The Rancho Santa Fe Post

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

Tagged in

Water Usage Up in October and November: We missed our State target of 36% in October by 6%, and fell behind considerably in November, achieving a reduction of only 13.9%. Meeting our 36% target in December and January becomes increasingly more challenging. While El Nino rains will find us shutting off our outdoor irrigation controllers, until they arrive, try the following adjustments. With shorter days and colder nights, many outdoor plants are entering a dormant period, especially our subtropicals – let us continue to pull together and use only what we need

  • Try reducing your station run times from 10 to 6 minutes each day. If you have upgraded to water-efficient rotary nozzles, try watering 15 to 18 minutes twice a week. If using drip that emits one gallon per hour, try watering twice a week for 15 – 25 minutes each day.

December Board Meeting: The Board began a thoughtful discussion of our current allocation policy, penalty structure, and use restrictions. Actions put in place in May 2015, when the Governor’s April 1 Executive Order was designed to expire in February 2016, are being re-evaluated now that the Governor has extended his Executive Order through the end of October 2016. The January 21Board meeting will continue this dialogue, hopefully resulting in direction to staff to make adjustments. 

Cost of Service Study Schedule: As noted last month, the Board directed staff to go back to the COSS analysts to consider establishing an agricultural rate. Consequently, the COSS timeline has been extended. COSS is scheduled to be on the Feb. 18agenda, with the COSS to be “received” at the March 17meeting. The 218 hearing notice will be mailed April 1, with the 218 public hearing set for May 19. Rate adjustments would take effect the start of our fiscal year, July 1, 2016.

State Water Resources Control Board December 7th Hearing on Emergency Drought Regulations: It was standing room only for the seven hour hearing with members of the SWRCB, who were taking public testimony on how they should make adjustments to their regulations put in place after Gov. Brown’s April 1 Executive Order. The following link provides you with that written testimony.   

Benefits of Reading your Water Meter every Week: A number of Fairbanks neighbors have experienced water leaks learning, first hand, the impact of un-recognized leaks on their bi-monthly water bill. Six months ago I directed my gardener to read my water meter every week. Once I reassured him that it was not illegal to read the meter, and he learned that the last two numbers were a percentage of one, he now tells me the meter read, which I then write down on my calendar, and also logs my weekly read into his smart phone. This simple task, which takes him less than two minutes, provides a number of useful benefits:

  1. I know if I am on target to achieve my allocation number;
  2. I can rest assured that I have no leaks in an aging irrigation system, and if I did, they would be caught within one week;
  3. My gardener has a greater appreciation of how much water is applied outside; and
  4. Since I note on my calendar whether or not I turned off my irrigation controller due to rainfall, and if I used more water than normal inside my home that week, I have a much greater appreciation of how much my water usage is outdoor irrigation and pool evaporation. (Friendly reminder: have a rag handy in case you need to clean the plastic meter cover, and be on the look out for spiders.) Get in the habit…it will become even more useful when proposed tier rate changes go into effect July 1, 2016!

Thank you for the Sacrifice and Hassle and Expense of Responding to the Governor’s Order: San Diego region ratepayers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that our region is less dependent upon water supply from Northern California. Governor Brown’s Executive Order, implemented by the SWRCB, did not take into account San Diego’s pro-active stance. Our region is hopeful that when the SWRCB announces adjustments in January, that San Diego’s expensive preparations will be taken into account. Of course, it remains to be seen if/how State Regulators will respond to San Diego’s lobbying. As your Div. 3 Board representative, I sincerely appreciate your efforts to make your water use more efficient, and your on-going practice to let previously green lawns go golden during this historic drought where the Governor is inserting State bureaucrats into how we make use of and enjoy our private property.