As of today, Bolinas has received approximately 16 inches of rain thus far this rainfall year as measured at 270 Elm Road (and approximately 22.5 inches of rain as measured at the Woodrat Treatment Plant at 400 Mesa Road). Although the rainfall totals remain below normal, the rains of February and March were extremely beneficial for our local water supply. Our emergency reservoirs, Woodrat 1 and Woodrat 2, are now overflowing whereas they had been at nearly 50% capacity in January; even more importantly, the stream flows in our preferred water source, the Arroyo Hondo creek, have recovered from their alarming low levels in January. As a result, at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting in April, after an extensive discussion, the BCPUD Board of Directors voted unanimously to lift the Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert it had imposed in January 2014.
Although the heightened voluntary conservation alert has been lifted for now, the BCPUD reminds all customers that this district has a very limited water supply in the best of years, and every effort you make now to conserve will help us to manage this limited supply for the benefit of the community. The BCPUD further cautions that as the Spring and Summer months progress, the district will be guided by its Water Conservation and Dry Year Water Use Reduction Program and the BCPUD Board may determine that the heightened voluntary conservation alert (or even mandatory rationing) must be imposed again. Thank you for all that you do to be aware of your water use, to conserve to the extent possible, and to reduce all water waste.
We will keep you apprised via updates in the Hearsay News and on our website: www.bcpud.org.
Thanks to everyone!
The BCPUD issues this update on the status of the district’s water supply to let you know what has happened since our last customer mailing on January 17, 2014. At that time, we informed you that the BCPUD Board of Directors on January 15, 2014 adopted a “Water Conservation and Dry Year Water Use Reduction Program”. The text of the program is posted on our website at www.bcpud.org and it includes provisions defining foreseeable circumstances in which the district will call for heightened voluntary conservation and those in which the district will re-impose mandatory use restrictions (i.e., rationing) so that our customers have a clear articulation of the circumstances that will trigger water rationing and so that the district reduces and/or eliminates the need to take such action on an ad hoc basis.
We told you in our January 17th mailer that the district was under a heightened voluntary conservation alert and we urged the community to reduce consumption district-wide to the extent possible. We specifically asked customers to turn off all automatic irrigation systems, cease (not simply limit) all landscape irrigation (including hand-watering) and otherwise do everything possible to reduce water waste. It was our goal to achieve a twenty-five percent (25%) reduction in use (i.e., 25% of the average water used by all customers during the preceding 12 months) through voluntary measures. The community responded immediately. Within two weeks, consumption in the district declined by approximately 30% (as compared to average consumption levels during 2013). Very importantly, as a result of your efforts to conserve, we have been able to meet your demand for water by using our preferred water source, the Arroyo Hondo Creek, and we have not had to divert any of our emergency stored water from our reservoirs (which were alarmingly low at the end of January).
In February, it finally started to rain. As of the date of this mailer, Bolinas has received 13.9 inches of rain since July 1, 2013 as measured at 270 Elm Road (at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant at 400 Mesa Road, we’ve received 19.9 inches). Very importantly, the rainfall we received in February and March has filled the Woodrat Reservoirs 1 and 2 so that we have our maximum emergency stored water supply. That certainly is good news. However, given that our average annual rainfall per year is over 30 inches, we remain well-below normal in terms of precipitation. This is worrisome given that 2013 was the driest year on record for this area and we are dependent on our surface water sources. We do not know exactly how the flows in the Arroyo Hondo Creek will respond to the multi-year, below-normal rainfall conditions or when we will have no choice but to supplement with our emergency stored water supply to meet customer demand.
As a result of this uncertainty and below normal rainfall to-date, and because we are starting to see water consumption in the district rise as the weather warms and days lengthen, to prudently manage the community’s water supply the BCPUD’s Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert remains in effect. Staff will continue to regularly update to the Board of Directors at the monthly public meetings about the status of our water supply and projections for upcoming months. We also will continue to keep you apprised via updates in the Hearsay News and on our website: www.bcpud.org. For now, please continue your efforts to reduce your consumption and please, keep all automatic irrigation systems turned off and cease (not simply limit) all landscape irrigation (including hand-watering with a hose) and continue your efforts to reduce your consumption by 25%!