Water-thrifty Cambrians have done it again: During the first half of 2015, they beat their own records for water conservation, when compared with similar periods in the past two years, according to services district stats.
Cambria Community Services District well-production records for January to June 2015 showed a 9.6 percent decrease from use in 2014, and a 37.8 percent drop from 2013 consumption.
In 2014, per capita water use by the district’s residential customers was among the lowest in the state.
“Residents here have been showing California how to conserve since the drought emergency began” four years ago, district General Manager Jerry Gruber said. Many Cambrians also had been water conscious and conserving for years and decades prior to that, dating back to previous droughts in the 1970s and 1990s.
Gruber called Cambria “a conservation model for the state.”
District wells in the San Simeon and Santa Rosa creek aquifers provide Cambria’s potable water. CCSD officials say that means production from those wells closely tracks the community’s total water consumption. The statistics include water use by residents, business and governmental customers, plus district use and any leaks.
According to district stats, use dropped from slightly more than 354 acre-feet in the first half of 2013 to 220.23 acre-feet in the same period this year. In the first half of 2014, those wells produced 243.67 acre-feet.
Use in June 2015 (40.65 acre-feet) reportedly was the lowest on record for that month, beating 41.02 acre-feet in June last year, and nearly cutting in half the June 2013 usage of 73.58 acre-feet, which was before the district imposed stricter, drought-triggered conservation rules.
An acre-foot is 325,900 gallons. At the conservation level of 50 gallons per day per person, one acre-foot could supply water to a two-person Cambria household for nearly nine years. If the household’s consumption rose to 150 gallons per day per person, the supply would last less than three years.
Meanwhile, July 13 water measurements in the district’s wells were at near average levels, before the unusual recent storm six days later.
A CCSD chart showing San Simeon Creek well levels from 1988 to the present places the yellow-stripe/red-dot line for 2015 about in the middle of the rainbow-hued “spaghetti chart” that has a differently colored-and-accented line for each year.
On July 13, the average water level in CCSD’s San Simeon wells was 15.40 feet above sea level — they’re considered full at an average of 20 to 21 feet and getting too low at 8 feet.
Santa Rosa Creek well SR4 measured at 45.87 feet July 13 (it’s considered full at about 50 feet).
However, when a monitoring well at Windsor Bridge East, currently at 3.69 feet, drops to 3 feet, the district can no longer pump from Santa Rosa Creek wells, no matter what the level is in SR4.
Where the 2015 line goes for the rest of this year depends on rainfall, weather patterns and how well CCSD customers continue to do the hard work of cutting back their water use.
Gruber said the district’s emergency water supply project “will ensure an adequate supply as long as the drought might last.”
The water-reclamation project filters and treats a brackish blend of fresh, salty and waste water. Gruber expects the project will be available this summer and fall to produce water as needed to maintain adequate well levels in the San Simeon Creek aquifer, Cambria’s principal water source, especially in summer.