There have been a number of questions regarding the BLSMWC’s Drought plan. Let me answer as many as possible.
How can the water company measure the use of water, as not all customers are on a meter?
The Water Company has a master meter that measures usage but it is not specific to any property site. There are 1715 residential hook-ups on the system and about 10-12% are full time users. There are 275 meters and the vast majority are full time users.
Meters are now required by the State of California in or on all systems. If the Company is larger than 5,000 customers, it has until July of 2015 to complete a metered system. We are smaller than 5,000 and our State mandate is by 2025. I would hope the entire system will be metered by the end of 2016. We are currently seeking grant funds and/or low interest loans to build out our system. We random sample 25 metered sites to observe average usage. Overall use is measured on a very regular basis.
Currently, as of April 11th, the average daily consumption is 125 gals/ household/day. We instituted a 20% reduction in overall water use in April of 2014. The customers rose to the occasion and we have seen a dramatic reduction in use. In March of 2015, we moved the reduction to 35% and suspended outside watering. We are hopeful that this will deliver the additional 15%.
WE CAN CONTROL THE USE BUT WE CAN’T CONTROL THE SUPPLY.
The goal is to insure that there is sufficient water for the high use months. Our ground or well water comes from the Sierra snowpack. The last, large, better than average snow pack was in the winter of 2009-2010. In 2014-2015, it was 8-12% of normal. We MUST control the usage.
CCWD allows outside watering?
Maybe they shouldn’t. I think it is on marked time.
What about outside watering and expensive plants?
I would ask that you give the water company a chance to review the impact of suspended outside watering. The suspension hasn’t been in place long enough to see any overall impact. There are alternatives to outside watering systems: use grey or used water. Capture the water from the shower, sink or the dishwasher and place it in the garden. Use a bucket to collect the hot water side that is often cold and is ahead of the hot water as it travels from the hot water heater. Pour that water into the garden. You will be surprised how much water is available.
What about the fines?
No fines will be levied until all forms of due process are exhausted. Our goal, again, is to gain voluntary compliance. I am confident that will occur.
Will I get a rebate for the handheld hose fee I paid?
Your account has already been credited.
Where can I get more information about the Drought Plan?
Go to our website: www.blsmwc.com and read the Bubbler, which is our newsletter. It is full of free, water saving ideas and the list is growing. I hope that I have answered your questions. If I haven’t….ask. Again learn more by visiting our website and go to water.ca.gov for a look at the State of California’s site and current water information.
Finally think of this. State of California Water Watchers say that a snow pack of 280% of normal is required to lift us out of the drought. We have zero control over snow fall BUT we have absolute control over usage.
Join and get in front of the issue, manage it as best we can or let the problem manage us. I’d rather be in front.
Thank you for asking,
President of the Board
Blue Lake Springs Mutual Water Company