Water conservation efforts increase as hot weather approaches
by Joe Shreve
Apr 10, 2014 | 1352 views | 1 1 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As the summer months approach in the midst of what's been described as a three-year drought, local water districts are taking steps to encourage customers to conserve water supplies that were not sufficiently replenished by the sparse winter rains.

While both San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley's water districts have adopted goals of reducing water usage by 20 percent, residents of the San Lorenzo Valley will be subject to a series of mandatory measures to attempt to reach that goal.

According to SLVWD District Manager Jim Mueller, the district's board of directors approved a resolution on March 6, declaring the existence of a water shortage emergency in the San Lorenzo Valley.

“(The board) determined that conditions are such that we might not be able to satisfy all the demands,” Mueller said, adding that water usage in the San Lorenzo Valley typically doubles in the summer months compared to the winter.

Effective May 1, Stage 2 conditions for a water shortage emergency will be in effect, he said.

The second of four possible stages, Stage 2 places restrictions on certain uses of water at certain times of the day — particularly at outdoor uses.

“Everything is geared towards outdoor water,” Mueller said. “Stage 2 is not rationing — it's weather use restrictions.”

According to the restrictions, customers will be prohibited from using water to wash down hard or paved surfaces, and irrigating will be banned between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. — with the exception of watering cans and drip systems

Customers will be allowed to use water outdoors on three designated days per week, and will be determined by whose addresses end in odd or even numbers.

Even-numbered addresses will be able to water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, while odd-numbered ones can water on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

Monday, Mueller said, is a “watering holiday.”

The rules will remain in effect, he said, “until the board rescinds the emergency.”

For its part, the Scotts Valley Water District has not enacted any mandatory water usage restrictions.

According to District Manager Piret Harmon, between Scotts Valley's recycled water systems and the fact that most of Scotts Valley's water is drawn from groundwater — as opposed to surface water — there would not be any mandatory restrictions.

The recent rainfalls were particularly helpful, she said, upping the rainfall total to 50 percent of the average total.

“We got enough rain that we’re out of the worst-case scenario,” Harmon said.

Despite the encouraging rainfall, she said, the district is still keeping a close eye on the situation.

“We're asking everyone to do their fair share to reduce water usage by 20 percent,” Harmon said. “Every month the board will evaluate our water supply situation and make the decision going forward.”

She said that the district was soon planning to revisit rebate programs that would encourage conservation and open new ways to allow rainwater to reach underground aquifers.

For more information, visit www.slvwd.com or www.svwd.org

Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 11, 2014
Not sure I understand what the 20% figure applies to?

If you are talking about reducing our use by 20% based on our own use, then that is completely ludicrous. What about those of us who have already done everything they can to use less water? Native landscape, low flush toilets, grey water system, rain water catching... etc. If I wanted to reduce my water use by 20% I could just install some low flush toilets... Oh wait, I already did that in 2009.

SLVWD needs to establish a per capita average, then each household can reduce their use by 20% of this figure.

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