SFID customers continue to cut back

SFID customers continue to cut back
The Santa Fe Irrigation District’s electrical signage thanks residents for their water conservation efforts. Photo by Tony Cagala

REGION — For the second month in a row, water usage numbers at the Santa Fe Irrigation District are dipping. In May, numbers reflected a 42 percent reduction in water use compared to 2013.

SFID wants people to know that these calculations are based on the total potable water demands for these time periods.

“We are very proud of the impressive water conservation levels our customers achieved this June,” said Jessica Parks, a spokesperson for the district. “The state has mandated that our district achieve a 36 percent reduction in potable water demands compared with 2013. Our water usage in June 2015 was 37 percent lower than the same month in 2013.”

Parks pointed out that during the district’s July board meeting, the directors approved hand watering with a hose that contains a positive shut off nozzle or watering with a bucket on any day or time.

“Additionally, customers can now wash their vehicles at home as long as they use a positive shut off nozzle. These changes are in line with the Board’s decision to provide customers with more flexibility and control of their watering as they achieve the 36 percent cutback,” Park said.

Parks attributes the ongoing water conservation to their public outreach tools which consisted of public meetings, traffic signs, mailers, emails, and much more.

The water use cutbacks customers have made, she said, show that the vast majority is participating and all they needed was some information and assistance in order to have such a tremendous response.

Parks said throughout the conservation efforts, the process has been an educational one and SFID has done their best to clear up any misconceptions.

“Some people don’t understand that the district is a public agency and makes no profit.  In fact, we are required by law to only charge the actual cost of service,” she said. “Our mission and focus is to provide the best water service possible to our customers at the lowest reasonable costs — and our rates are currently one of the lowest in San Diego.”

Parks noted that during a severe drought, their costs go up. Increase examples have been working intensively to provide a recycled water fill station, launching new and expanding current customer service and conservation programs, among other items.

According to Parks, these costs are drawn from their reserves.  Presently, the district is reviewing the cost impact and its revenues.

Another issue SFID has had to convey to its customers is the equity of the State water cutbacks.

“While we do not agree with how these mandates have been applied to the District, these mandates are in effect and are being followed by the district and by local water agencies across the State to ensure that there is sufficient water for everyone.  Through our membership in the San Diego County Water Authority, we are seeking reasonable accommodations that recognize the past conservation efforts of our customers and success in helping develop regional water supply reliability projects, like desalinated water,” she said. Parks added, “the Authority has been in direct contact on this issue with the Governor’s office and state board that imposed the mandates.”

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