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%!