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...
You can also learn about the tiered rate structure at...