CARLSBAD — Despite a challenging month, the water users in the city met the state’s mandated cutbacks for the first time since Gov. Jerry Brown instituted the policy last year.
According to Mario Remillard, meter and customer services supervisor for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, February’s total reduction came in at 21 percent.
In addition, the city received an additional 8 percent credit from the State Water Resources Control Board thanks to the added supply from the city’s desalination plant, which came online in December.
The city’s mandate from the state is to reduce 28 percent each month, but now the total is down to 20 percent with the credit.
“We wish we can get more,” Remillard said.
Mayor Matt Hall, though, said the credit from the state was applied for February and extended through March. However, he said the State Water Resources Control Board has not committed to further credit extensions.
Remillard explained the state board will meet in April to determine whether to extend the credits. He said the reservoir at Lake Orville is at 70 percent of capacity and is expected to spill in the coming months. Lake Shasta is at 80 percent capacity and combined, the two may allow the board to extend credits.
As for the city, Remillard said the board analyzed three factors to determine the credits, which included alternative water sources, evaporation temperature (a sort of average temperature, he added) and population increase. The district applied for the credits last month.
“It’s very important,” Remillard said of receiving the credits. “We weren’t getting anything prior, any kind of reduction for drought-proof sustainable supply. Twenty-eight percent, that was a big number to hit especially with our transient population in the summer.”
Since Carlsbad didn’t have much population increase and its average temperature is pretty constant, those two avenues didn’t net a credit, Remillard said. However, the desalination plant pumps between 8 to 10 percent of potable water into the county supply, which netted the 8 percent credit.
The state, meanwhile, approves between 1 to 8 percent for alternative water sources. Since the desalination plant meets the 8 to 10 percent threshold, Carlsbad was granted the 8 percent credit.
In addition, the state also used a complex formula to determine reduction totals for each entity. Remillard said three summer months in 2014 were incorporated, but since 2013 was the last wettest year on record, along with the average gallon per capita (person) per day used, those numbers were crunched to determine the city’s requirement.
Remillard, meanwhile, said the district purchased 9 percent less water over the same month in 2013, an even more impressive feat given this February was the hottest on record.
“February 2013 was wet and cold and now we just had the hottest February on record,” he added. “At least we got a reduction.”