Last year, both the local water districts, Olivenhain Water District and the San Dieguito Water District complied with statewide requirements that took the City of Encinitas from a Level 1 up to a Level 2 Water Conservation Measure.
By employing voluntary water use restrictions, the Level 1 Drought Watch was intended to generate sufficient water conservation to meet the 8% reduction and avoid penalties from the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA).
The good news is that the residents were successful in accomplishing the statewide goal and reducing their water consumption!
Half of the City of Encinitas gets their water from the Olivenhain Water District (OMWD); the Eastern side, while the Western half of the City is served by the San Dieguito Water District.
The week before last, the OMWD Board of Directors assessed the local and state water situation and voted to go back to a Level 1Drought Watch; this means water bills for residents and businesses served by OMWD would potentially go down because the District will no longer have the authority to charge extra due to “drought emergency” water rates imposed under a Level 2 drought watch. In Encinitas, as it would be all over, this is a blessing financially in these hard times.
Unfortunately, the businesses and homeowners on the West side of the City won’t be similarly rewarded for their good behavior if the staff of the San Dieguito Water District has its way.
Because the water district staff has recommended that the district stay at Level 2 and continue charging that premium for potable (drinking and cooking) water, as well as an additional $1,800 for a water meter if one has the good fortune to attempt to build a building.
OMWD and other local water districts are returning to Level 1, so why isn’t the San Dieguito Water District?
Most likely because the SDWD Staff likes the extra income derived from the higher water prices they get to charge at Level 2.
And that’s part of the problem.
The District has a financial incentive to claim drought, even when it isn’t real. Much like the boy who cried wolf, but we all remember how that story turned out, don’t we?
Returning to Level 1 would help business and homeowners with reduced rates in this recessionary economy.
Why make things purposefully harder Encinitas?
Hopefully the Board of the San Dieguito Water District will have the spine to impose the discipline their staff lacks, and make the proper decision to return the water district to a Level 1 with voluntary curtailment of water use, no extra fee for a water meter, and reduced water prices, because that reflects the reality of the situation, and is the right thing to do.
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