The BCPUD issues this update to all of our customers about the status of our water supply in light of the historic, and highly-publicized, lack of rainfall in California during 2013. Many of you no doubt remember the mandatory rationing of five years ago when Bolinas (and the rest of California) was in the midst of a prolonged drought. In January 2009, the Board imposed mandatory rationing to limit water consumption in the district to no more than 20 cubic feet (or 150 gallons) of water per service connection per day. (The Board was able to lift the mandatory restrictions two months later when the winter rains set in and replenished the district’s water supply.) The community response was immediate and incredible – compliance with the rationing requirements exceeded 98% and, since that time, water consumption in the district has remained far below historic levels.
Thanks to your hard work to reduce your water consumption and to your continued conservation efforts since that time, the district is in a much better position today from an available water supply standpoint than it was 5 years ago. In 2009, one of our emergency reservoirs (Woodrat #2) was virtually empty and the other (Woodrat #1) was significantly depleted; in addition, flows in the Arroyo Hondo Creek were much lower than normal (due to three consecutive years of below-average rainfall and higher levels of consumption) and able to supply only about half of our needed water supply. At present, the district has approximately 10 million gallons of water in storage in our two reservoirs and the Arroyo Hondo Creek is supplying approximately three-fourths of the town’s water. That said, while our community is better off today than it was five years ago, 2013 was the driest year on record and we are half-way through January with virtually no rainfall. It is time to step up our conservation efforts and plan for the future.
Earlier this month, we posted a voluntary conservation request on our website, published it in the Hearsay News and posted it around town, requesting that all customers conserve as much water as possible and, in particular, that customers turn off all automatic irrigation systems and limit (or preferably cease) all landscape irrigation. Since that request was issued, staff updated the Board of Directors about the status of the district’s water supply at the Board’s January 15, 2014 regular meeting. At that meeting, the Board 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. Here is a summary of the key provisions of the program:
– Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert Stage: At any time when:
– the district’s water storage at the Woodrat #1 and Woodrat #2 reservoirs (collectively) is or is projected within the next thirty (30) days to be in the vicinity of, or less than, 10 million gallons, and/or
– historic hydrologic data (Arroyo Hondo creek flows) and/or use patterns (consumption) indicate that a minimum reduction in use is required to assure sufficient carry-over storage, then,
– the BCPUD may activate a heightened voluntary conservation alert program whereby every customer shall be requested to (i) eliminate water waste and (ii) cease all landscape irrigation to aid the district in achieving a twenty-five percent (25%) reduction in the amount of potable water used by all customers during the preceding 12- month period during which no restrictions in water use were required.
Mandatory Rationing Alert Stage: At any time when:
– the district’s water storage at the Woodrat #1 and Woodrat #2 reservoirs (collectively) is or is projected within the next thirty (30) days to be in the vicinity of, or less than, 8 million gallons, and/or
– historic hydrologic data (Arroyo Hondo creek flows) and/or use patterns (consumption) indicate that a further reduction in use is required to assure sufficient carry-over storage, then,
– the Board of the Directors of the BCPUD may activate by resolution a mandatory rationing program to achieve the amount of water use reduction needed, as reasonably determined by the BCPUD Board of Directors based on district staff expertise and advice.
At this time, we are under a heightened voluntary conservation alert and it is our goal to encourage the community not to increase water usage, which otherwise typically would start to occur as the weather warms and the days lengthen, and to further reduce consumption to the extent possible. In order to do this, we are asking 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. These measures should enable us to achieve our objective of a twenty-five percent (25%) reduction in use (i.e., 25% of the average water used by all customers during the preceding 12 months). As the above referenced summary of the Water Conservation and Dry Year Water Use Reduction Program indicates, the next step will be to institute mandatory water rationing.
We will continue to keep you updated with news of our water supply via updates on our website (www.bcpud.org) and in the Hearsay News. If you would like to receive updates via e-mail, please either call our office at 868-1224 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your e-mail address. Thank you!!