Rancho Santa Fe faces harsher water cutbacks

Rancho Santa Fe faces harsher water cutbacks
The Santa Fe Irrigation District is placing digital signs around the area, including Rancho Santa Fe, to remind people traveling the roads of the water restrictions. Photo courtesy Santa Fe Irrigation District

RANCHO SANTA FE — Rancho Santa Fe has been informed of severe water cutbacks raising them to a Level 3 Water Shortage Response on June 1. And electronic signs throughout the Ranch are delivering the message. According to the Santa Fe Irrigation District, at its May meeting, the board of directors approved an elevated comprehensive plan of action.

Jessica Parks, management analyst and public information officer of the Santa Fe Irrigation District, they imposed mandatory allocations with severe cost penalties for exceeding those allocations.

Irrigation days have dropped from three to two days. Parks wants everyone to know that the District will be increasing its enforcement by adding staff in the field to help customers comply with the mandatory water use restrictions.
“Beginning July 1, 2015, water allocations for all customers will be imposed with severe cost penalties for exceeding the allocation. The penalties could result in quadrupling of water charges for those that don’t comply, and for flagrant violators, the District can impose flow restrictors and shutting off water service,” she said. “The water allocations will be based on each customer’s 2013 water usage. Each residence will receive a base allotment for the billing period, but all usage above the allotment must be cut back by 45 percent.”

In addition to cutting back irrigation, a Level 3 restriction also prohibits washing vehicles at one’s residence, hosing down courtyards, among other things many did before the drought.
Parks said there would be doubled penalties for not following water use restrictions and increased enforcement of those restrictions.

In April 2015, data was released regarding water usage.

Not only was the District the highest per capita user in the State, Parks said, but the water usage went up 9 percent while all other water districts within the County of San Diego went down.

“It is critical that customers comply with the water use restrictions and reduce their water use,” she said. “The District could face penalties of up to $10,000 per day from the state and financial penalties from wholesale water suppliers.”

Currently, the District has placed electric signage throughout its service area, reminding passersby of the drought and water restrictions. On a weekly basis, they relocate these signs to other highly traveled areas.

Parks wants everyone to know that they are trying to get the message across to as many customers as possible.

“We are asking that all of our customers sign up for online access to their water usage. This is the best way our customers can obtain their 2013 water usage and determine what their water allocation will be,” she said. “Finally, it is important that customers recognize that this will take effort.”

Changes to landscaping, regular water meter checks, and more mindful use of water use indoors will need to take place.

In an effort to help its customers comply with the new mandatory water use restrictions and allocations, Parks said, the District will be holding a town hall meeting June 23 at 6 p.m. at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club.

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