In response to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent statewide drought declaration, the Vallecitos Water District general manager issued a Drought Level Stage 1 alert for all customers within its 45-sq-mile boundaries of San Marcos, Lake San Marcos and parts of Carlsbad and Escondido, including other nearby unincorporated areas of the county.
Three historically dry winter seasons and recent court rulings have also severely slashed the water available for import into the region by Vallecitos wholesaler, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).
With the likelihood of the situation intensifying even though snowfall/rain totals from northern California sources are nearing the “normal or average” historical marks, the district declared a Drought Level Stage 1 – voluntary conservation practices aimed at reducing usage by 10% - and recently posted an online calculator to assist customers in determining how rates will be affected in the event of water rationing.
Water-use restrictions have been something Vallecitos has been able to avoid so far, but as many of the state’s reservoirs remain well below where they should be at this time and average snow/rainfall not realistically being able to restore them in short order, rationing may be the only option in the near future as determined by MWD and the San Diego County Water Authority wholesale agencies.
As detailed in Vallecitos Water District’s Board-approved ordinance, the voluntary conservation actions for Level 1 include:
• Avoiding the washing down of pavements, including sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts or patios;
• Preventing water waste associated with inefficient landscape irrigation as well as flows onto non-targeted areas such as nearby properties, hardscapes or roadways, which is also prohibited based upon the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board regulations that do not allow runoff;
• Irrigating only before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.;
• Using a handheld hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or bucket to irrigate landscapes not connected to an automatic system;
• Using re-circulated water to operate ornamental fountains;
• Washing vehicles using a bucket and hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle, mobile high pressure/low volume wash system or at a commercial site that re-circulates water onsite;
• Serving and refilling water in restaurants only upon request;
• Offering guests of commercial lodging the option of not laundering towels and linens daily;
• Repairing all water leaks within five days of notification by Vallecitos Water District; and
• Using recycled or nonpotable water for construction purposes when available.
Source: Vallecitos Water District