California is entering its fourth year of drought, with the last three being the driest in our state’s recorded history. In response, during their Nov. 9 meeting, Monte Vista Water District’s Board of Directors (Board) renewed the Declaration of a Significant Water Supply Shortage, extending last year’s declaration for another year. In accordance with District Ordinance 33, the Board’s action requires customers to reduce water use by 20% and imposes the following restricted uses of drinking water by MVWD customers:
- Outdoor watering is only allowed on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but not between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. (with exceptions such as hand-watering)
- No excess runoff from outdoor watering
- No hosing down driveways, sidewalks, buildings, or parking lots
- No washing vehicles without a shut-off nozzle
- No using water in fountains or other water features without recirculation
- No watering during rain and 48 hours following
- Repair all plumbing and irrigation system leaks within seven (7) days of discovery
- Restaurants serve water only upon request
- Hotels provide option for non-daily linen service
- Water recycling systems required for conveyor and in-bay car washes, cooling towers, and evaporative cooling systems
“Our customers have responded well when we’ve asked them to conserve during drought,” said Board President Sandra Rose. “As conditions worsen, we must all cut our water use and step up conservation efforts to preserve our precious water.”
MVWD customers have reduced their per person water use by more than 40% over the last two decades and are the most efficient water users in the region. But in the midst of another statewide drought, MVWD is asking its customers to do everything possible to preserve limited water supplies. California’s water system is significantly constrained after three consecutive dry years, resulting in an unprecedented low water supply level.
The declaration of a Significant Water Supply Shortage authorizes staff to implement and enforce enhanced water use requirements to reduce demand and protect the water supply. Customers who violate these restrictions will receive written notice and progressive fines up to $200 per violation. The water use restrictions remain in place for one year, unless rescinded or amended by the Board of Directors.
“MVWD is committed to working with customers to achieve a 20% reduction in water use compared to pre-drought levels,” said General Manager Justin Scott-Coe. “Communicating and engaging with customers is key. This collaborative effort, along with enhanced conservation programs, will help the water district and customers achieve greater water savings.”
In addition to renewing the Declaration of a Significant Water Supply Shortage, the Board has approved the implementation of Demand Reduction Rates as revenue shortfalls are anticipated resulting from less water consumed. During the rate setting process, the Board established Demand Reduction Rates to be implemented during planned decreases in water use while service costs still need to be met. The Stage 2 Demand Reduction Rates are effective January 1, 2023. Residential customers will see an average increase of $0.28 per unit (748 gallons) of water if they are efficient users. If they use water more wastefully, they will see an average increase of $0.52 per unit (748 gallons) of water.
As in the past, MVWD believes its customers will once again step up and answer the call to conserve. Customers are encouraged to follow MVWD’s social media platforms as well as visit the website (www.mvwd.org/drought) for drought updates, conservation tips, rebate information, and upcoming workshops to help them reduce water use.