Friday, July 25, 2008
Olivenhain Municipal Water District Declares Drought Level 1
Olivenhain Municipal Water District Declares Drought Level 1 and Says No New Service Connections If It Moves To Level 2
Encinitas, CA –The Olivenhain Municipal Water District (District) Board of Directors adopted a Drought Response Conservation Ordinance (Ordinance) at its Board Meeting this morning. Immediately following the adoption of the Ordinance, the General Manager declared a Level 1 Drought Watch for the District’s service area effective immediately. The ordinance consists of four levels and is modeled after the regional drought ordinance developed in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority (Water Authority) and other local water suppliers. Water suppliers throughout San Diego County have adop ted or will adopt their own drought ordinances generally consistent with restrictions that are being enforced across the region.
Level 1 – “Drought Watch” effective July 23, 2008
A Level 1 condition calls out six primary use restrictions. Compliance with these restrictions during Level 1 is voluntary; however these same restrictions become mandatory and will incur penalties if the District moves to Level 2. Level 1 restrictions, which are also generally considered best water management practices, include not washing off paved surfaces, not allowing runoff from irrigation, watering before 8 AM or after 6 PM, using a shut off nozzle on hoses and repairing all leaks promptly. During a Level 1 Drought Watch condition, the District will increase its public education and outreach efforts to emphasize public awareness of the need to implement the water conservation practices adop ted in the Drought Response Ordinance. At Level 1 the District is asking customers to help conservation efforts by voluntarily cutting back their water use by at least 10% within and around their homes and businesses. If 10% water reduction goals are not accomplished in Level 1, a Level 2 Drought Alert could be declared.
Level 2 - The District diverges from the Regional Ordinance to Stop New Connections Earlier at Level 2
In a Level 2 “Drought Alert” (up to 20% reduction required) all water reduction measures in Level 1 will continue; however they will become mandatory and will incur penalties.The District Board decided to diverge from the Regional Ordinance by providing that no new potable water service connections will be allowed in Level 2. “The Regional Ordinance did not call for the discontinuation of new service connections until Level 3; however the District felt that we owed a duty to our existing customers to take this step earlier. If we start telling our existing customers that they have mandatory restrictions and penalties, we didn’t feel it was right to keep setting new meters. ,” sta ted Mark Muir , the District’s Board Treasurer and the District’s representative to the San Diego County Water Authority. The only exceptions for new service connections in Level 2 will be for public health and safety, previously issued and unexpired building permits, or if the developer can offset all of the water demands of the new service connection. More information and additional customer notices will be provided if and when the District moves to Level 2 or higher The District’s Drought Response Ordinance may be viewed at its website www.omwd.com.
Why has the District moved to a Level 1 “Drought Watch?”
San Diego County is a semi-arid region and local water resources are scarce. The region is dependent upon impor ted water supplies provided by the Water Authority, which obtains a substantial portion of its supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan Water District). The Water Authority is responsible for notifying its member agencies, including the District, that there will be supply shortages and that certain consumer conservation measures are needed in order to ensure that sufficient supplies will be available to meet anticipa ted demands. On June 4, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought, and on June 10, 2008 in response to the Governor’s proclamation, Metropolitan Water District declared a Water Supply Alert throughout its six-county service area to help preserve water storage reserves. “The plain and simple of it is that the entire state is in a drought and we are drawing down storage at an alarming rate in order to meet demands. We do not have the ability to replenish those supplies as we did in the past due to court ordered restrictions on pumping from the Delta. Unless demand is reduced voluntarily, we will be moving to the next levels in the Drought Ordinance which include mandatory compliance, penalties and allotments. ” stated the District’s General Manager Kimberly Thorner.
California is experiencing a drought due to two consecutive years of below-average rainfall, very low snowmelt runoff and the largest court-ordered water transfer restrictions in state history. The water transfer restrictions have been placed on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta pumps on the State Water Project pipelines that provide water to most of Southern California including San Diego County . The District receives 40% of its water supply from the State Water Project. These restrictions are from federal rulings set to protect several protected fish species in the Delta, and will prevent delivery of up to 30% of the water from the State Water Project. This restriction is anticipated to remain in effect for several years.
The Metropolitan Water District has projec ted that there will be shortages in our water supply from 120,000 acre feet up to 600,000 acre feet for 2009. 120,000 acre feet is roughly the amount of water for approximately 120,000 families of four for one year. Even if more rain is received and snowpack goes up next year it will not be enough to make up for the deficiencies in our water supply that already exist.
These factors have triggered the necessity for the District to adopt its drought response ordinance and declare Level 1 Drought Watch.
Mandolyn (Mandy) Rodriguez
Staff Analyst/Public Information Officer
Olivenhain Municipal Water District
1966 Olivenhain Road
Encinitas, CA 92024
P (760) 632-4650
F (760) 753-1638
Save Water Now! 20 Gallon Challenge
For Tips and Information Visit www.sdcwa.org
Cooperative Interagency Resources Coalition www.sdcirc.org
US Drought Monitor-West