South county cities and districts are using some different approaches to mandated water use reduction by 25 percent. A final version of the state regulations that will govern water use reduction in California was approved Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board.
Initial actions taken by south county municipalities in response to statewide water use reduction regulations include pre-planning activities, enforcement of existing water use reduction ordinances, and ad hoc committee work to establish water use parameters.
A final version of the regulations was approved Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board.
The City of Weed is looking at outdoor watering restrictions as a starting place while the regulations are still under discussion at the state level.
City manager Ron Stock said Weed does not supply water to enough customers to be subject to the specific reduction targets expected to be required of urban water suppliers. But Weed may be subject to some mandated water use reduction beyond the outdoor watering restrictions.
Stock said, “I have prepared a draft ordinance and begun circulating it to staff and legal counsel for review ... limiting watering to two days a week. It is likely that we will designate the days watering will be permitted.”
He said the draft ordinance is likely to restrict watering by allowing people with odd numbered addresses to water on two specific days of the week and people with even numbered addresses to water on two other specific days of the week.
“Mandatory restrictions will require enforcement efforts,” Stock added, so the city will attempt to craft a system that can be easily overseen and monitored.
Dunsmuir also does not meet the criteria for urban water supplier, according to interim general manager Randy Johnsen.
“We have fewer than 1,400 connections,” he stated in an email.
Johnsen said Monday that what Dunsmuir is planning to meet regulatory mandates is “really a trick question at this point.” Regulations had not yet been finalized or approved at the state level.
“Our efforts at this point are to continue to try for grants to replace leaking water mains and thus conserve that water,” he reported.
Johnsen reported that Dunsmuir is participating in an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan program that may provide additional moneys for main replacements or replacement of a water storage unit adjacent to the high school.
“The concrete water storage tank is about 105 years old and does leak during certain times of the year,” he said. “If replaced with a steel tank at higher elevation, it would conserve water and provide adequate fire protection pressure year round.”
The Dunsmuir City Council has formed an ad hoc committee to review and comment on a water master plan update and a water rate study is being conducted.
“This is not directly related to the Governor’s drought decree, it’s just what the City of Dunsmuir has going related to operation of our water system,” Johnsen said.
Public works director Rod Bryan reported in an email that the City of Mount Shasta has set up an ad hoc water conservation committee to meet “at least monthly” to address local drought concerns.
“We will be further developing policy, procedures, and water conservation guidelines, as well as discussing monitoring and enforcement,” Bryan wrote.
A resolution governing water use reduction mandates was passed by the city council at their last meeting, and includes the following:
• All major water users and residential customers required to reduce water usage by 30 percent;
• Outdoor watering with sprinklers restricted to three days a week with different watering days assigned to odd-numbered and even-numbered street addresses; and,
• Outdoor watering with sprinklers prohibited from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and during periods of rain at any time.
The resolution further states that the following are prohibited:
• Allowing runoff onto streets and gutters from excessive watering;
• Washing of outdoor hard surfaces with potable water;
• Allowing leaks from any pipe or fixture to go unrepaired;
• Washing vehicles without using a hose with a self-closing water shut-off nozzle; and,
• Serving water to customers in restaurants unless specifically requested.
The city will also direct all local motels to encourage and allow their guests to choose to reuse towels and linens instead of having them changed every day.
Mount Shasta City will stop watering turf in landscaped areas and reduce watering schedules in other landscaped areas, and will repair water leaks as soon as is “practical and possible,” according to the resolution.
Lake Shastina Community Services District
An ordinance adopted last year is believed, “at this time,” to cover the mandates, according to Lake Shastina Community Services District Interim General Manager Jamie Lea.
However, he wrote, what comes out of the appointed special committees "may require future action.”
Among the water use restrictions included in the LSCSD ordinance are the following:
• Exterior irrigation limited to two days per week at set times, depending on whether the irrigation is achieved manually or automatically;
• District water unavailable for new swimming pools, ponds, or water features for duration of water shortage emergency;
• Non-commercial vehicle washing allowed only with hoses equipped with hand-operated shut-off valve;
• Water use for washing hard outdoor surfaces prohibited;
• Plumbing breaks or leaks must be fixed or water turned off; and,
• Penalties for violations will be used only for conservation outreach and production of additional water.
The ordinance calls for a written warning in response to a first violation and a $100 penalty fee for the second violation. Fines will double for each subsequent violation up to a maximum of $500 for a single violation.
Penalty for a fourth violation, or for earlier violations that are deemed to create a “significant threat” to water conservation goals, allows the district general manager to “order installation of a flow restrictor on the service line or lines in question,” according to the ordinance.
State regulations establish water use reduction criteria as well as reporting and enforcement responsibilities for "urban water suppliers” (public or private entities that provide water for municipal purposes either directly or indirectly to more than 3,000 customers) and smaller water suppliers. Every urban water supplier must reduce water consumption by between 8 and 36 percent.
Smaller water suppliers such as local south Siskiyou County cities and community services districts, which serve fewer than 3,000 connections, must either reduce water use by 25 percent, or restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. These smaller urban suppliers must submit a report on December 15, 2015 to demonstrate compliance.
Commercial, Industrial and Institutional properties that are not served by a water supplier (or are self-supplied, such as by a groundwater well) also must either reduce water use by 25 percent relative to the amount produced in 2013 or restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. No reporting is required but these properties must maintain documentation of their water use and practices.
The regulations include, but are not limited to, the following prohibitions for water consumers:
• Allowing runoff of potable water through excessive watering;
• Washing a vehicle with a hose not fitted with a shutoff nozzle;
• Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways;
• Using potable water in a non-recirculating decorative water feature;
• Watering landscapes during and within 48 hours after a measurable rainfall;
• Serving water in eating or drinking establishments unless it is asked for; and,
• Irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians with potable water.
The full text of the emergency drought water use reduction regulations approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday can be found at www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/emergency_mandatory_regulations.shtml.