Saving water remains priority in Apple Valley (December 16, 2015)

AVRWC - Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company

Ranchos: Conservation target was missed again in November

In a Dec. 1 Associated Press story, Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, warned that it’s not time to ease conservation efforts. We can’t know when the drought will end, she said. We have to keep saving every drop we can.

The bottom line is that even though Apple Valley is entering cooler months, we are all still in an epic drought and we need to re-double our efforts to conserve water. Saving water will be harder as we enter cooler months when most of us don’t water our yards as much.

Even though forecasters are predicting an El Nino condition that could drench the state, this does not mean any of us should stop our conservation efforts.

In the same Associated Press story, state officials said Californians posted a 22 percent savings in water use in October, marking the first month residents missed the state’s mandatory 25 percent conservation target since enforcement of the cutbacks began in June.

This past October, Apple Valley missed our conservation target slightly (27.3 percent), but now for the second time since June 1st we missed our target of 28 percent, having only achieved a 14 percent reduction for November. If this continues in December, there could be severe consequences for Apple Valley. Cumulatively, our percentage reduction of water use since June 1st is at 28.5 percent — so we are still within our state-mandated reduction target of 28 percent.

State officials are dead serious about enforcement, too. This past September for the first time they fined four water suppliers for failing to meet their individual conservation targets.

Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District were each fined $61,000.

Continued violations could lead to a cease-and-desist order with potential fines of $10,000 a day.

Gov. Brown also extended his executive order to prepare the state for a fifth year of drought allowing for emergency conservation measures to continue through October 2016 if dry conditions persist this January.

Conservation must be an everyday mindset.

Our customers did the right thing this summer, using significantly less water. We commend everyone who did their part to conserve. We strongly encourage our customers to renew their efforts to save water at the same levels we did during the warmer months. If we continue to consume water this month and in January at the same level we did in November, we could face state fines.

Ranchos rolled back its Water Shortage Contingency Plan from Stage 2 to Stage 1 on Nov. 1. Stage 2 includes a monthly water allocation and an associated drought surcharge. Ranchos customers need to increase their water-saving practices over the next four months to comply with the state’s order, so we don’t have to return to Stage 2.

Now that the colder weather is here, be sure to winterize your pipes, faucets and irrigation systems. Flush your irrigation system and turn it off for the winter months to prevent breaks and loss of water.

Also remember there is no outdoor watering within a 48-hour period after measurable rainfall.

Ranchos offers a variety of no-cost, water-saving tools and resources, from faucet aerators, hose nozzles and shower heads to high-efficiency toilets, water audits, and rebates for turf removal through the Mojave Water Agency’s Cash for Grass program. Contact Ranchos’ conservation team at 760-247-6484 for information.

— Norma Armenta is water conservation coordinator for Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company.

Source: Daily Press