Under new state water conservation regulations that take into account local water supply conditions, the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) will continue to focus on conservation, though the district is no longer required to meet a 20% state conservation standard.
The MMWD Board of Directors' Drought Resiliency Task Force Committee reviewed the state requirements at its meeting on June 10, 2016.
"The State’s action doesn't change MMWD's commitment to conservation," said MMWD Board President Cynthia Koehler. "We’ll continue to partner with our customers to increase efficiency, and to offer rebates and free water conservation programs to help. The Marin community has been doing a great job saving water, and we thank them for making conservation part of their everyday lives.”
The state's change follows Governor Brown's Executive Order on May 9, 2016, which ended California's one-size-fits-all emergency conservation regulations. On May 18, the State Water Resources Control Board announced new standards that take into account local climate and water supply conditions.
The state's new “self-certification” standard requires all water agencies in California to analyze their supply and demand based on local conditions to determine a site-specific state conservation standard. While MMWD’s state “self-certification” analysis shows that a state standard is no longer required, the district will continue to promote conservation.
The district will submit its self-certification by June 22, 2016 and will continue to report monthly water production numbers to the state. The new state regulations are effective through January 2017.
Though the Governor's order recognizes the differing water supply conditions throughout California, it also makes some conservation measures permanent statewide, recognizing the need for California to prepare for more frequent and persistent droughts in the future. Similarly, MMWD will keep in place new water waste prohibitions adopted in 2014 and 2015. These prohibited water uses include:
* Using a garden hose without a shut-off nozzle
* Landscape irrigation between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
* Irrigating any ornamental landscape or turf areas more than three days in any week.
* The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
"Drought or no drought, these are simple, common-sense ways to save water outdoors," says MMWD Conservation Manager Dan Carney. "Even when full, our reservoirs hold only about a two-year supply of water, so using water wisely is always important. We never know what the next rainfall year will bring."
From June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016, MMWD customers voluntarily conserved 21% compared to the same months in 2013, exceeding the 20% state standard set for MMWD. Thanks to customer efforts, MMWD reservoir storage as of June 9 is 75,521 acre-feet* or 110% of average for this date.
MMWD is Marin County’s largest provider of drinking water, serving a population of 187,500 in a 147-square-mile area of south and central Marin County. The district owns and manages 21,635 acres of watershed land on Mt. Tamalpais and in west Marin. The primary source of water supply is rainfall captured in seven reservoirs, providing 75 percent of the water consumed each year. The remaining 25 percent is imported annually from the Russian River through an agreement with the Sonoma County Water Agency. MMWD also operates its own recycled water system.
To learn more about MMWD's rebates and other free conservation programs, visit marinwater.org/conserve.
* One acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons.