Updated Nov. 5, 1:35 p.m.–
State water data released last week shows the Citrus Heights Water District reporting a cumulative 38 percent drop in water use from June through September — although the data also shows a recent decrease in water savings by nearly 10 percent.
Hilary Straus, CHWD’s assistant general manager, told The Sentinel last month that a drop in conservation would be expected, since opportunities for outdoor water savings decreases as hot weather ends, making conservation efforts focus on indoor water savings over the cooler fall and winter months.
In June, the local water district reported savings of 41.4 percent in comparison to 2013 use, followed by a 42.5 percent drop in July, 38.3 percent in August, and a much lower 29.1 percent drop in September. Overall, those numbers beat the District’s state-assessed conservation requirement of 32 percent by more than 6 percent, but for the first time since State Water Control Resources Board reporting requirements began in June, monthly savings in September dropped below 32 percent.
Other water suppliers in the region are also noticing a drop in conservation totals, with the City of Davis reporting an 18 percent savings in September, and Folsom reporting a 21 percent savings. As supplier compliance with state conservation mandates are based on cumulative totals rather than on a specific month, CHWD is still in the green — although Folsom is now about 2 percent below its cumulative requirement, according to the latest state reporting data.
Preferring a “red carpet, not red tape” approach to meeting its 32 percent reduction goal, Straus said the District — which serves about two-thirds of Citrus Heights water users — focuses on educating its customers, rather than issuing fines. As part of that education, Straus recommends dropping winter water use by taking “shorter showers, fixing leaks, [running] full loads of laundry and dishes, turning off the water while brushing your teeth, and installing high-efficiency appliances.”
According to state water board enforcement data released on Oct. 30, CHWD reported receiving 168 water-related complaints, and issued 111 warnings to customers in September. A similarly sized district in southern California, Rowland Water District, reported receiving 43 complaints in September and issued 42 warnings along with five fines.
Enforcement data shows the majority of water suppliers across the state have opted to not issue fines, with notable exceptions like the City of Clovis which fined more than 6,800 customers for not meeting the area’s mandatory 36 percent reduction requirement in September.
State water board policy leaves enforcement methods up to local districts, but requires monthly reporting of actions taken and allows the board to assess daily fines of $500 to $10,000 on Districts who don’t meet conservation goals. Last month, the state water board opted to assess four $61,000 fines on four Southern California water suppliers who “consistently failed to meet their water conservation goals,” according to a water board news release.
Following Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 1 executive order mandating 25 percent water reduction across California, the State Water Board began requiring local water suppliers to report water use and conservation data each month, beginning in June. The Board releases monthly reports that compare each District’s current usage with 2013 water use, with the next report expected to be released by the end of November.
State water data released last week shows the Citrus Heights Water District reporting a cumulative 38 percent drop in water use from June through September -- although the data also shows a recent decrease in water savings by nearly 10 percent.
Hilary Straus, CHWD's assistant general manager, told The Sentinel last month that a drop in conservation would be expected, since opportunities for outdoor water savings decreases as hot weather ends...
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