EMWD Shifts to Mandatory Water Restrictions

The Eastern Municipal Water District sent us a press release earlier this week announcing that the water conservation efforts it had once su...

The Eastern Municipal Water District sent us a press release earlier this week announcing that the water conservation efforts it had once suggested to residents and businesses are now mandatory.

The EMWD board of directors at it's June 17 meeting declared Stage 2 conservation measures in its water shortage contingency plan effective immediately.

As examples, hosing down hard surfaces, daytime lawn watering, allowing runoff and leaks will now be prohibited, rather than requested.

In the case of allowing water to runoff into the street, for example, penalties will start at $25 after one warning for excessive water runoff at single-family homes. Penalties can be increased to $50 or $100 for subsequent violations within a year of the first violation warning.

The same types of comparable waste at multi-family, commercial, industrial, institutional and landscape accounts are subject to penalties of $100, $200 and $300.

But the EMWD doesn't expect shifting to mandatory conservation efforts will make much of an impact, because they said the vast majority of their customers are already making efforts to monitor how they use water and eliminate waste. For the most part, EMWD customers are doing what the district has asked of them and are staying within their first two billing tiers.

The district is also keeping it's four-tiered rates where they are. They had once considered doubling the highest tier-4 rate for flagrant waste.

The complete list of mandatory water efficiency requirements are:

  • Refrain from hosing down driveways and other hard surfaces, except for health or sanitary reasons, and then only by use of a hand-held bucket or similar container, a handheld hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off device, or a low volume, high-pressure cleaning machine equipped to recycle any water used.


  • Repair faucets, toilets, pipes, and other potential sources of water leaks.


  • Irrigate landscape only between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. This provision does not apply when:
    • Manually watering during the establishment period of a new landscape;
    • Temperatures are predicted to fall below freezing;
    • For very short periods of time for the express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system.

  • Refrain from watering or irrigating of any lawn, landscape, or other vegetated area with potable water using a landscape irrigation system or watering device that is not continuously attended unless it is limited to no more than 15 minutes watering per day per station. This 15-minute limitation can be extended for:
    • Landscape irrigation systems that exclusively use very low-flow drip irrigation systems when no emitter produces more than two (2) gallons of water per hour.
    • Weather-based controllers or stream rotor sprinklers that meet a 70% efficiency. But runoff or over watering is not permitted in any case.

  • Adjust and operate all landscape irrigation systems in a manner which will maximize irrigation efficiency and avoid over-watering or watering of hardscape and the resulting runoff.


  • Refrain from watering or irrigating any lawn, landscape, or other vegetated area that causes or allows excessive water flow or runoff onto an adjoining sidewalk, driveway, street, alley, gutter, or ditch.


  • Do not use decorative fountains unless they are equipped with a recycling system.


  • Do not allow water to run while washing vehicles. Use a bucket or similar container and/or a handheld hose equipped with a positive self-closing water shut-off device to avoid runoff into gutters, streets, or alleys.


  • When installing new landscaping, plant low-water demand trees and plants. Do not incorporate non-functional turf areas.


  • Refrain from watering during rain.

EMWD depends on The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) for 70 to 80 percent of the water served for 135,000 customers in Riverside County.

Beginning July 1, MWD sets mandatory reductions to its 26 member agencies. Although these upcoming reductions affect regional and local water agencies differently, the net result is an about 10 percent cut in water supply, with a nearly 20 percent rate hike beginning Sept. 1, 2009. In addition, hefty penalties will be levied against water agencies that exceed their allocations.

Since water sales peaked for EMWD in 2006-07, the demands by domestic water customers—meaning residents, businesses, and institutions—have declined by 17 percent.

EMWD's board believes continuing reduced customer demands will keep EMWD within MWD's allocations. They have also made a commitment to leave rates alone at least until January 2010 through additional internal budget cuts and project deferrals.

MWD's allocations on regional water agencies were agreed to last April as a way to address state-wide water shortages caused by record dry conditions in Southern California and court-ordered water pumping cutbacks from Northern California's Bay-Delta into the California Aqueduct.

You can read the EMWD's water shortage contingency plan at...
http://www.emwd.org/news/ordinances/Ord117.2.pdf.

You can also learn about the tiered rate structure at...
http://www.emwd.org/water_service/UnderstandingTieredRates.html#Tiers

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Post a Comment

  1. I believe this has been mentioned elsewhere on this site, but I wanted to provide a reminder.

    The water tiers and the amount of water each house is allotted each month are based on 3 people per household. If you have more than 3 people living in your house, you need to contact EMWD and let them know.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've done that and there are other reasons besides having more than 3 people in the household, like having a pool. You can call them and they will mail you the form. You can probably request the form on their website too.

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  3. PonyBoy, last year when the EMWD proposed the tiered water rates, I asked their public relations guy if families with pools would be penalized. They said "no", because they did studies showing that the water needed to keep a pool filled is the same amount used to keep a backyard lawn green. So, pool or no pool, you're still using the same amount of water. I hope the EMWD is sticking to that answer, because I have a pool too.

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  4. I believe the reason for "declaring" the pool is they will allow you to drain and fill it once every five years and not be charged the higher rates for that month.

    Jason

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  5. Well I actually have the request right here because I haven't mailed it in yet :)

    You can request an increased water allocation for the following reasons:
    1. Residents per household
    2. Licensed Elder or Child Care Facility
    3. Medical needs
    4. Irrigated landscape area - you need to submit square ft and drawing of area, I don't totally get this one
    5. Pools, pools w/spas, ponds (filled once every 5 years)
    6. Large animals (100+ #'s each)
    7. Other (state your case + documentation)

    No idea how they figure once per 5 years on your bill but I checked it anyway. We actually use very little water but 6 people in the house plus a pool, might as well mark it all down.

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  6. You can print the form off of their website and fax it to them. I did that - it is quicker that way.

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  7. People with pools should be charged a premium for the amount of water used to fill up a 20-40k gallon pool.....why shouldn't they? Water is a declining natural resource needed to live, not to swim in

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  8. There is more water on this planet than any other natural resource that we use. Just extract the salt and you have more than enough.

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  9. De-Salinazation is it. Some countries get all fresh water supplied from de-salinazation.

    I believe that during a water crisis it should be mandatory the the pools be covered when not in use! You would be amazed how much water evaporates from an uncovered pool every day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Desalinization has problems, namely how do you deliver millions of gallons of water from the ocean to the consumers, using an infrastructure that relies on gravity?

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  11. How many desalination plants are there? 1 in FL and 1 hopefully sometime this decade in Carlsbad......If I am going to get a fine for watering my grass, washing my vehicles, the rules and regs should be just as tight (if not tighter) on a pool. Especially in the IE the evaporation rate is HUGE! IMO if you want to go swimming go to the beach, plus there is eye candy there :)

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  12. Ok POOLS are not the only waste of water. So are leaky faucets, poor watering habits, excessive showers, washing your car and many more.

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  13. It's certainly a lot of water to fill up a pool, but yeah, things like leaky sprinklers can also add up big time. I tell our neighbors about a bad sprinkler, by the time he gets around to fixing it he's got another one. He loses a LOT of water in his driveway and sidewalk. And for that matter, those who have a pool usually have a pretty big area of concrete to go along with it, combined that is a very big area that most others would have grass, shrubs, trees or something else requiring water. We've got a pool and four kids and a whole bunch of pets, still have a much smaller water bill than any of our friends or neighbors I've talked to about it.

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  14. PonyBoy - You had better be reporting your neighbor for wasting water.

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  15. all joking aside if you tell a water waster about a problem and they ignore it then they deserve to be reported. Do you want to pay more money because you did not report a warned offender? That is a problem in society, we will ignore problems to avoid conflict or being labled.

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  16. If you have Desalinization plants for the densly populated coastal cities MWD won't have to deliver to those locations demand would less to nil from the water district, easing the supply for the inland areas.

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  17. What a bunch of Neo-Nazis, they want to control our water supply, by making us pay more for less. I have a nice senior neighbor who takes care real good care of his yard...Deceased wife but he trys to maintain his home. They sent him an over watering bill. Plants, Pets, and grandkids. Let us not let this group control us. Send your comments to them @ emwd.com

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  18. I agree. I don't waste water, but will be glad to pay for the water I use at a reasonable rate.
    Be careful how much we conserve.A
    recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the East Bay Water District. they had ask all of their customers to reduce water usage by 15%. the customers actually ended up reducing usage by 13%. The EBWD was impressed with the reduction, but then informed their customers that due to lower water sales they are now increasing their rates by 7.5%. What?
    The city of Menifee backs this water reduction by EMWD, because this will allow the city to pander to developers, who will be able to build more homes, and the city gains by increase of taxes, due to more rooftops.
    Unfortunately, the problem is exponential, more water for developers, more homes, more traffic, more pollution, more crime,etc.
    Our water rates will continue to increase because we are a city now and not considered a rural area any more.
    So, if we are in a drought, and there are water restrictions, then no more development in this area until water problems are solved. No need for more houses when we have plenty available for sale, and will for years to come.
    Just think.

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  19. this is almost a lose lose situation.

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  20. The EMWD should take a look at all the broken sprinklers located along the freeways and roads that are shooting water straight into the air or watering the asphalt. Talk about waste! Is the city gonna pay more for their waste?

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  21. Plants along freeways and roads are irrigated with reclaimed water, not drinkable.

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  22. Steve.....not all, actually there is a relatively small reclaimed water infrastructure set up. If it's purple it's reclaimed if not it is domestic

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  23. reclaimed or not it is a waste of water any way you look at it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Does anyone know if reclaimed water will be brought in to water landscaping only in residential areas?

    ReplyDelete
  25. You have to look at the big picture.
    Reclaiming water is not that old, so even with some areas that are reusing water, how much is still being wasted?

    ReplyDelete
  26. If I over water my yard and a bunch of water runs down the drain, doesn’t that water go into the reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and oceans? Which then we will be sent back to my house? Also, when the water in my pool evaporates, doesn’t it fall back into the reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and oceans to be reused? Is water really wasted and eliminated from the Earth, or does it just go in a circle?

    ReplyDelete
  27. It's goes in circle as far as the entire Earth is concerned, but the problem in Southern California, there's still more water being used, than water coming in.

    ReplyDelete
  28. We were overcharged $258+ by EMWD two months in a row. We measured our landscaping area and they allocated us less than 1/2 of our landscaping area!!!! And they did not give us enough allocation for inside, only allowing for 3 people in a 2800 square foot house! I don't think so. When we called, they said they based their info on GIS data. Really?? I find it hard to believe that GIS data provided caused them to allocate less than half of what our landscaping really was. Crooks! We filled out the required form with the measurements of our landscaping for a variance and received a response that was still way under what we actually have. Of course, we may ask for a hearing, but that is absolutely unethical. We have used no more water than we have used over the years and we use their recommended water schedule and limit our showers, etc. This has to be criminal what they are doing.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I just got a $700 water bill last month. Isn't that outrageous? I had them come out and re-read my meter and they said it was read correctly. They are telling me that I have a water leak. My bill said I used 87,000 gallons of water last month. Keep in mind, I do not have a backyard put in and I just water my front yard once a day for 6 minutes. It is just myself and my wife living in the house. Now if I had a leak, wouldn't I notice if it were 87,000 gallons worth. I think my house would be floating on water. I have already checked the leak indicator on my meter and it shows no leaks. Has anyone else had this problem before? Any advice?

    ReplyDelete

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