October SFID Board Meeting: Staff member Jessica Parks gave a presentation on the implementation of Gov. Brown’s May 9th Executive Order B-37-16 making water conservation a California way of life. As reported last month, the Dept. of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board are moving at breakneck speed to issue their draft framework by January 10, 2017.
While the Executive Order will have an impact on our indoor water usage, as it appears the current standard of 55 gallons/day/person is being targeted, it will have the most drastic effect on our outdoor irrigation usage. This is particularly true for SFID customers with large properties. The proposed approach uses the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO) to establish outdoor water budgets for the District which will take into consideration evapotranspiration rates, landscape area in the District, irrigation efficiency, and “appropriate” landscape plants for the region.
SFID and similar entities have a number of concerns: that outdoor irrigation restrictions apply to “irrigable acreage” rather than currently “irrigated” acreage; that investment in new recycled water projects (or desal) be allowed to offset potable water use; and that sufficient notice be given to Californians for public comment. It does not appear that the public, nor businesses, will be provided sufficient time to make public comment on the process: November 4th will see the public draft report released, with a deadline of November 14th for all public comments due on the draft report. (I spent a lot of time searching both the SWRCB and DWR websites to locate links to be sent the Nov. 4th report and came up empty handed.)
Automated Meters: By now you might have read the press release from SFID regarding the roll-out of a five year program to replace manual read water meters with meters that will transmit water usage on an hourly basis. Phase I begins November 7th, where customers in the northern boundary of the Covenant and the southwestern corner of Solana Beach will have meters replaced. Those two areas were chosen to test the newly installed antennae, as the District’s topography varies quite a bit from Solana Beach to Rancho Santa Fe.
The following information was included in the notification letter sent to the phase one group of customers:
“How will customers be informed prior to the new meter installation? First, a letter will be mailed to the property at least two weeks prior to the installation of the new meter. Then a notice will be placed at the entrance to the property (front door, side door, garage door, gate) no less than 2 days prior to work being performed in the neighborhood.
We are taking extra care to minimize disruption during installation. All work will be performed between the hours of 7:00 am to 5:00pm, Monday thru Friday. Since all work will be performed at the District’s meter location, it is not necessary for you to be home during the installation.
Installation of meters should usually take no more than 30 minutes with water service being unavailable at that time. Before temporarily interrupting individual water services, crews will make every effort to ensure that doing so will not impose an undue hardship on the customer, for example, by observing the meter to see if water is being used and knocking on doors to contact those who may be inside.”
Water Usage down in September: Compared to September 2013, September’s usage was down 20% from that baseline year. SFID customers reduced their water usage 7% over August’s usage, which was a reduction of 13% from the 2013 baseline year.
Water Rate Increases: Customers found their October bills reflecting the year one rate increases approved at the May Board meeting. The November 17th Board meeting will have an agenda item to consider the year two rate increases, which includes any pass-through rate increases from the water wholesalers. Rate increases approved at the November 17th meeting will take effect January 1, 2017.