RMWD puts town on drought watch

At their Jan. 27 meeting, Ramona Municipal Water (RMWD) directors adopted an updated Water Conservation Ordinance that falls in line with ordinances adopted by the other 23 San Diego County Water Authority member agencies.

Although the entire region has been in a Level 1 Drought Watch condition for over a year, the newly adopted Water Conservation Ordinance allows General Manager Ralph McIntosh to officially declare a Level 1 Drought Watch for customers within the RMWD boundaries of about 75 square miles.

A Level 1 condition applies when the county water authority notifies its member agencies that, due to drought or other supply reductions, there is a reasonable probability that there will be supply shortages and that a consumer demand reduction of up to 10 percent is required to ensure that sufficient supplies will be available to meet anticipated demands.

During the Level 1 Drought Watch, the district will increase its public education and outreach efforts to emphasize increased public awareness of the need to implement the following water conservation practices:

• Stop washing down paved surfaces, including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts or patios, except when it is necessary to alleviate safety or sanitation hazards.

• Stop water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff, low head drainage or overspray.  Similarly, stop water flows onto non-targeted areas, such as adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, hardscapes, roadways, or structures.

• Irrigate residential and commercial landscape before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only.

• Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or bucket to water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs on residential and commercial properties that are not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system.

• Irrigate nursery and commercial grower’s products before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only.  Watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or when a drip/micro-irrigation system/equipment or rotating nozzles are used.  Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time.  Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.

• Use re-circulated water to operate ornamental fountains.

• Wash vehicles using a bucket and a hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle, mobile high pressure/low volume wash system or at a commercial site that re-circulates (reclaims) water on-site.  Avoid washing during hot conditions when additional water is required due to evaporation.

• Serve and refill water in restaurants and other food service establishments only upon request.

• Offer guests in hotels, motels and other commercial lodging establishments the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.

• Repair all water leaks within five days of notification by the district unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.

• Use recycled or non-potable water for construction purposes when available and feasible.

While these conservation efforts are voluntary now, as advanced warning the district reported there is likelihood that the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California will require further reductions in the coming months.  This may require all agencies to increase to a Level 2 Drought Alert condition.  Level 2 requires a demand reduction of up to 20 percent.

Should this occur all of the voluntary restrictions listed above would become mandatory restrictions along with other mandatory restrictions.  MWD could impose water allocations to each agency as well.  Under Level 2, fines, flow restriction devices and discontinuation of service may be implemented if warranted.

“We all need to take immediate steps to start conserving, so if you haven’t started, I encourage you to take the ‘20 Gallon Challenge,’ which can be accessed on the district’s website at rmwd.org,” said McIntosh.

For the complete version of the District’s Water Conservation Ordinance and other water conservation tips, visit the district’s Web site.

“With everyone’s participation and some adjustments to our water usage habits, we can get through these tough times, and still continue to enjoy our Southern California lifestyle,” said McIntosh.

   
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