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Effective Dec. 1, landscape watering will be limited to one day per week

This information from the South Coast Water District in this graph shows how the district has increased usage by 1 percent in 2014 from 2013 instead of reducing it by 20 the percent asked for by the state on a voluntary basis. The state has recently made the 20 percent decrease mandatory. Source: SCWD
This information from the South Coast Water District in this graph shows how the district has increased usage by 1 percent in 2014 from 2013 instead of reducing it by 20 the percent asked for by the state on a voluntary basis. The state has recently made the 20 percent decrease mandatory. Source: SCWD

By Andrea Swayne

The South Coast Water District on Nov. 13 voted to limit all potable water landscape irrigation to one day per week.

The unanimous decision modifies the district’s Ordinance 206 Level 1 Water Supply Alert limiting outdoor watering to one day a week—residents on Monday and homeowners’ associations, businesses, government and schools on Wednesday between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. and limited to 10 minutes per sprinkler station/zone. The restriction goes into effect Dec. 1 and runs through March of 2015.

The limits apply only to the use of potable water for irrigation, not to HOA systems already using recycled water. Hand watering by hose with an automatic shut off nozzle is not limited.

The measure passed unanimously in light of the ongoing drought and in response to the State Water Resources Control Board’s recently passed resolution 2014-0038 requiring additional convervation measures be taken by all retail water agencies.

Despite the wide variety of SCWD’s other conservation efforts—water recycling, educational door hangers, rebates, identifying and remedying homes with water leaks, distribution of high efficiency nozzles and sprinkler systems and more—that are a part of Ordinance 206, the district as a whole, although in compliance with state mandates, has not reduced usage by 20 percent in 2014 as compared to 2013. Instead usage in the district has increased by 1 percent, said Andrew Brunhart, South Coast Water District general manager.

“We didn’t have to do much of anything to be in compliance,” Brunhart said. “We have also done much more in behest of our governor’s call in January for a 20 percent reduction in water usage on a voluntary basis statewide, which was recently made mandatory.”

Ordinance 206 and the Level 1 alert was first adopted by the board in 2009 requiring consumer usage be reduced by 20 percent and limiting potable water irrigation to one day a week from November through March and three days a week from April through October. In 2011, the board added language to allow three day per week watering year round, which has been the law ever since.

Neighboring water districts such as Santa Margarita and El Toro currently allow watering one day per week from November through March.

With the ongoing drought and reservoirs at critically low levels,the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the Metropolitan Water District of California are preparing for likely water allocation as early as January or February, Brunhart said.

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