Paying more for using less: What can we do about the water conundrum?
San Diego County Water Authority board member Matt Hall recently was quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune saying that our water situation is hard to explain to ratepayers. “It’s real hard to tell them, ‘You have to let your grass die,’ and in the same breath you have to tell them, ‘We have more water than we can use,’” he said.
So why is this? It is the direct consequence of California Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order B-29-15. This Emergency Regulation gives no credit to local water agencies for developing new sustainable water supplies, such as the new Carlsbad desalination plant – investments that our local water authority has made and we are paying for.
The City of Poway becomes part of this tangled web as it is required to comply with the Governor’s order to reduce water use by 32% (and to enforce the order). This steep reduction is contributing to rising water rates because local water agencies and the City are forced to meet revenue needs with lower sales.
What can we expect if the State continues to impose mandated water reduction as its primary drought plan?
- Water allocations and penalties – Poway City Council passed an ordinance in late 2015 which establishes a baseline allowance and penalties for excess non-essential use.
- Mandated irrigation standards – the State recently required cities to adopt irrigation standards for new construction, existing landscape rehabilitation greater than 2,500 square feet needing city approval, and for existing homes with landscape area greater than one acre.
- Continued mandated water cuts and higher water rates – reduced water sales coupled with ever increasing operating cost and more expensive desalination and recycled water will result in higher rates.
What can YOU do?
- Be engaged. Sign up to receive email notifications of City of Poway city council meeting agendas so you are informed of when new restrictive water-related ordinances are being considered and adopted. Go to: http://poway.org/list.aspx
- Attend council meetings and contact Council Members directly to voice your comments on issues, such as water, that directly impact your quality of life, home value and community.
- Contact our state legislators:
38th Senate District - JOEL ANDERSON
500 Fesler Street, Suite 201
El Cajon 92020
(619) 596-3136 • Fax (619) 596-3140 www.sen.ca.gov/anderson
77th Assembly District - BRIAN MAIENSCHEIN
12396 World Trade Drive, Suite #118
San Diego, CA 92128
(858) 675-0077 • Fax (858) 675-0688 https://ad77.asmrc.org
These elected officials support petitioning Governor Brown to allow us to meet mandated cutbacks through both conservation and sustainable water supplies, such as the Carlsbad desalination plant. Let them know you support their efforts for a more balanced drought management plan. You can also contact the State Water Resources Control Board directly:
Jeanine Townsend, Clerk of the Board
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street, 24th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814