Water News…from the desk of Marlene King, SFID Director Div. 3

Voluntary Drought Level 1:  On June 16th the SFID Board unanimously acted to exit Drought Level 3 and G.M. Bardin declared a Voluntary Drought Level 1.  Voluntary Level 1 means the District will not issue citations for water use restrictions.  (It remains to be seen if the State Board will require their Permanent Restrictions be “monitored” by individual water purveyors.)

Voluntary Drought Level 1:

  • No restrictions on days of week to water, nor numbers of days a week to water
  • No restrictions on length of watering time per individual cycle
  • No restrictions on time of day to water

The San Diego County Water Authority and S.F.I.D. encourage customers to use best practices to minimize evaporation loss:  setting irrigation controllers between evening and early morning will maximize the effect of the money you spend to purchase water.

State Water Resources Control Board Permanent Restrictions:

  • No washing of paved surfaces unless as necessary for health and safety
  • No outdoor irrigation within 48 hours of measurable rainfall
  • No irrigation runoff or overspray
  • No washing of vehicles unless using bucket or hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle
  • Fountains or other decorative water features must use re-circulated water

Important Questions for our Community: 

  • Does this mean that this historic drought is over?  NO.  We receive most of our imported water from the Colorado River.  Lake Mead is at an historic low level…a level where the Federal Government can unilaterally determine how much water states will receive.  (Those states are currently in talks to cooperatively reassess their allocations to preempt Federal intervention.)
  • Does this mean that media will no longer write articles about “Rancho Santa Fe has Highest Water Use in State”?  NO.  Water purveyors will continue to be required to report monthly gallons/person/day to the State Board that will be available to media and environmentalists, etc.  You get the picture…
  • Does this mean the State legislature has no interest in drafting legislation taking aim at what they determine to be “excessive water users”?  NO.  If you have been following the media reports about “Water wasters in Bel Air”, you might imagine that if RSF large property owners return to high outdoor water usage – pre April 1, 2015 – the media spotlight might again be focused on our area, which will focus the attention of State legislators.
  • Does this mean the State legislature will not continue to pursue laws which severely restrict landscape water usage for new homes or remodeled homes?  NO.  In the past year the Legislature passed onerous rules severely restricting turf amounts, specifying types of plants, and requiring specific irrigation devices.
  • Does this mean that the State Water Resources Control Board might change course, once again, after their current dictates expire January 2017?  YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE.   (Senate Bill SBX7-7 requires water purveyors to reduce usage 20% by the year 2020.  Prior to the Governor’s Executive Order of April 1, 2015, S.F.I.D. was on target to reach the 20% goal by 2020.) 

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