Friday, July 23, 2010

SDWD to stay at drought level 2

The Encinitas City Council voted 4-1 (Stocks) to stay at drought level 2 this week.

Stocks had these points about the situation:

  • SDWD didn't use our entire SDCWA water allocation this past year.
  • SDCWA is not reducing our (SDWD) water allocation for the upcoming year.
  • SDCWA has cancelled their planned "spot import transfers of water", because they don't need the water.
  • SDCWA has in their long term plan a "buffer" amount of water for potential new development and / or annexation.
  • SDWD users have in fact conserved water usage over the past year.
  • SDWD is only calling for an 8% conservation level for the upcoming year.
  • SDWD will be adding additional users to our San Elijo JPA reclaimed (purple pipes) program in the upcoming year, such as the Park Place H.O.A. which will reduce the demand for potable (drinking) water.
He also writes,  "SDWD's own adopted ordinance says that if we need to conserve water up to 10%, then we should be in a level 1 drought condition, and if up to 20% then we need level 2. The SDWD is only calling for an 8% reduction. Level 1 is what's called for by our adopted ordinance. Level 2 allows the District to charge our customers more money for water that level 1, and that may be a factor in the staff recommendation to stay at level 2, but that doesn't make it good policy."

Kristin Gaspar spoke to this issue and based many of her comments on written SDWD policy:

In related water news:
Residential and business water use in San Diego County fell 12.8 percent during the first year of regional water shortages and mandatory water use restrictions, according to a report provided today to the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors. The savings exceeded the 8 percent mandatory target that was in effect for July 2009 through June 2010.

The VoSD reported on SDWD board member's water use. Houlihan had the largest increase.

From VoSD, click to enlarge.

 On the other hand Houlihan only used 120,428 gallons, whereas Dalager used 133,144 gallons, and Stocks used 172,040 (Bond lives outside SDWD and Barth in a complex). Does that mean that Dalager and Stocks are bigger water wasters than Houlihan?
A few things to note that get lost in the oversimplified bumper sticker water policy tag lines are:
  • There is a difference between use and waste. 
  • Folks who have had a tight water budget already are less able to cut out water use without impacting critical uses of water.
  • You can't "grow local" if you don't consume some water. More growing means more water, no matter how you grow.
  • Most importantly, we have the capacity for another million more people
Houlihan says her increase was a result of a leak that went on for many months (a "few" bi-monthly billing cycles). Now, I'm willing to categorize her leak as a waste of water, especially if the leak was not on her property (why does she have water lines "adjacent" to her property?).

Side note: The VoSD tells me they had no problem getting the data on council member's water use. In the past I've asked if I could get the same information. I was told no. Read here about the current denial of access to city documents.


  1. Hell, I'll just do my rain dance.

  2. I don't even flush the toilet until there is a doo doo. I shower once a week, wash my hair in the sink twice a week, and wear my pants at least twice before washing them.

  3. I sent the following email to the Voice of San Diego reporter who requested the information:

    "The staff’s response to your records request peaked my curiosity about my HOA water use since we have be working for the last few years to change our common area landscaping to a low-water use design.

    I asked the water district staff to run a similar usage report for my HOA. As you can see we have reduced our water use over the past years." (attached was a report that showed a 9% decrease from the previous year)

  4. Unless Gaspar's facts are wrong, the SDWD is not following its own written policy. As it typical of the council old timers, that was ignored by them. It was a surprise that Barth's decision did not pivot off the written adopted policy. I don't recall staff addressing it either, but they routinely cherry pick their facts and analysis, so no surprise there.

  5. Hey, check out the Cardiff Kook today. It's awesome.

  6. Sounds similar to what's happening in San Diego. Some people don't realize the permanent precariousness of our water supply, think the danger is over and they can go back to splurging on water. Thus, Donna Frye's proposed ordinance to make water use restrictions permanent. It shouldn't be seen as a drought-related need to conserve, it should be seen as a necessary fact of everyday life, and an ordinance may be the only way to accomplish that.

  7. So tell me... when the reseviors are full... do they drain it off?

  8. Reservoir levels? Here they are:

    Note, the ones that trend higher are refilled with purchased imported water. The lower levels are reservoirs that only capture local runoff and don't get extra added (like Sutherland and Morena).

    Don't expect any to overflow in our lifetimes!


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