Monday, November 30, 2015 • 05:30

Drought forces mandatory water restrictions

July 23, 2014
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) approved mandatory emergency water conservation regulations last week to increase water conservation and those effects will be felt by almost everyone in Valley Center and the surrounding areas according to a recent press release issued by Valley Center Municipal Water District (VCMWD). Under the mandatory restrictions offenders could be fined up to $500 per incident.

"With the state's actions yesterday, previously voluntary conservation measures will become mandatory," the press release states.

Efforts do not involve mandatory percentage use reductions or allocations measured against a base period of specific allocation at this time, but do require that previously voluntary conservation becomes mandatory according to VCMWD general manager Gary Arant.

"Essentially what is going to happen is the things that we have had in place since March, those voluntary conservation efforts, well now they switch over and become mandatory," said Arant. "The way those will be enforced is we have a system of notification then with repeated or willful violation we have a system in place for fines of up to $500."

Mandatory conservation measures include not washing paved surfaces, stopping water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation such as runoff, watering lawns and landscapes between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 a.m., using re-circulated water to operate ornamental fountains, washing vehicles using a bucket and a hand held hose with a shut off nozzle and repairing all water leaks within 3 days of notification.

"We are not into allocations or allowances so all we are asking people is don't hose down your drive way, don't overwater your lawn, don't water in the morning water in the late afternoons and evenings. Things like that. Don't wash your car with a hose that doesn't have a shut off nozzle on it and let it run down the streets, those types of things.

Arant said he expects the SWRCB to take action during its meeting scheduled for today asking member agencies such as VCMWD to go to a level two water supply shortage alert condition.

"Then I think our board will follow suit on August 4th and implement a level two," he explained. "What we will do then is develop the implementation and enforcement system through the month of August. We will not start doing enforcement of fines until September 1. We want to give our customers at least a month to understand the information."

Arant said what he really wants to emphasize is that these restrictions are unlike past events where customers were actually asked to reduce water usage by a percentage against an allocation or a base year.

"That's not part of the program as of yet," he said. "What I can tell you is if we have a dry winter this year then we will most likely be in allocations next year."

None of the restrictions apply to agricultural use.

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