What local agencies are saving the most water?United States
San Diego Union Tribune
Because of the drought, the San Diego County Water Authority ordered mandatory water conservation amounting to an 8 percent cut last year.
Most districts exceeded the goal, with the Ramona Municipal Water District cutting the highest percentage — nearly 22 percent — while the tiny Yuima Municipal Water District near the Riverside County border cut back by just 2.4 percent.
Overall, San Diego County residents cut their water use by 12.4 percent during the first 12 months of mandatory conservation measures across the region, saving nearly 77,000 acre-feet of water.
Only two reservoirs in San Diego County can store that much water, enough to serve roughly 150,000 families for a year. About one-third of the volume saved was from cutbacks in the city of San Diego. It trimmed water use by 25,470 acre-feet, or 11.6 percent, in fiscal 2010 compared with 2009, according to the San Diego County Water Authority.
On a percentage basis, the city placed slightly below the regional mark.
Residents and businesses in the Ramona Municipal Water District squeezed out the highest percentage during the year — nearly 22 percent — while the tiny Yuima Municipal Water District near the Riverside County border cut back by just 2.4 percent during fiscal 2010.
Water conservation was ordered by most districts countywide because supplies have shriveled in recent years. Drought conditions and court-ordered protections for fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are major causes of the shortfalls. Delta safeguards limit pumping through the key conduit for water that flows from Northern to Southern California.
The regional numbers don’t offer strong trends about which types of districts — urban or rural, large or small, north or south — were most successful in conserving water, said Dana Friehauf, a resource specialist with the water authority.
“What can be said, perhaps, is the makeup of the district and what the retail agency has done with their message, their restrictions and their rates plays more into it than size,” Friehauf said.
The water authority buys wholesale water and distributes it to 24 members that service almost the entire metropolitan area. Starting in July 2009, the water authority told retail water districts to cut back by 8 percent compared to pre-cutback levels.
Most districts ordered customers to irrigate their yards only on certain days and many set rules for car washing, fountains and other water-intensive activities.
Friehauf said some farm-heavy districts made major cutbacks in water use two years ago so their 2010 numbers don’t reflect the full scale of their conservation efforts. She said agriculture customers countywide have reduced their water use by more than half since 2007.
“That is huge,” she said.
Conservation measures were so successful that some districts, including Ramona and Olivenhain, have backed off mandates.
But officials said that doesn’t mean residents should revert to water-wasting ways. The water authority plans to maintain reduced deliveries at least through June 2011 and likely longer unless seemingly intractable problems with California’s water delivery system are fixed.
“We expect everyone to be able to conserve as they have,” Friehauf said.
Water savings around the county:
Reduction in use, which was ordered by county districts, was highest in Ramona in fiscal 2010 — nearly a 22 percent cut. The weak economy played a major role in reducing water demand, said district manager Ralph McIntosh. “We have quite a few foreclosed houses up here and quite a few vacancies,” he said. “There are a lot of dead yards.”
The 21.6 percent decrease in water sales, combined with reductions in property tax revenue, put district finances in a tailspin and forced layoffs of five employees, McIntosh said.
Compliance with district-mandated yard irrigation days was the key to conservation in a part of the county known for its lush residential landscapes.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a quarter-acre lot or a three-acre lot,” said district manager Michael Bardin. “If you followed the rules, you had a commensurate reduction in water use.”
He said response was almost uniform. “We were really, truly amazed,” he said. “It wasn’t a painful year.”
The tiny town by the sea started its “heavy lifting” on water conservation before the regional mandate was put into place, said Eric Minicilli, deputy public works director. He said since 2007, Del Mar residents have reduced water use by more than 21 percent using a variety of tools, including a water-waster reporting form on the city’s main website.
Mayor Jerry Sanders seemed to continually promote water conservation last year. The city also deputized a team of water cops, which processed 5,017 complaints about waste and referred 67 cases to code enforcement officials.
The combined measures lead to substantial cuts in every sector of the city: 10.7 percent for residential customers; 7.5 percent for industry; 20.4 percent for irrigators; and 10.9 percent for city facilities.
Residents in the district had the lowest per capita consumption going into the drought, said general manager Mark Rogers, so the district took what he called “the adult approach” and didn’t impose mandatory water-use restrictions.
In addition, “Sweetwater Authority customers already had paid for the things that allowed them to weather the drought better than most other agencies,” Rogers said. Those facilities include two reservoirs, a groundwater desalination plant and freshwater wells
El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.
- Detrás de Cámaras
- Galería de Medios
- Notas de prensa
Page 'Breadcrumb' Navigation:
Site 'Main' Navigation: