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Central Coast, state continue to meet water conservation goals

Most Californians, including those in San Luis Obispo County, continued to meet the state’s mandatory water conservation goals in September, but savings rates are down slightly from August.

Overall, Californians reduced water use by 26.1 percent in September compared with the same month in 2013, exceeding the state’s 25 percent water conservation mandate. The water conservation rate in the Central Coast region was 26.7 percent.

The state mandates that overall water consumption rates must be 25 percent below those during the same month in 2013. The state also set separate conservation standards for individual urban water suppliers.

Communities that fail to meet their water conservation mandates by more than15 percent are subject to state penalties. On Thursday, the State Water Resources Control Board voted to fine the cities of Beverly Hills, Indio and Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District $61,000 each for failing to meet their conservation targets.

Most larger water suppliers in San Luis Obispo continue to meet their conservation goals.

“Millions of Californians have saved water during the summer months, which are the four most critical months to save water,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

September’s savings rate was down slightly from the August rate of 27 percent. State water officials say this drop is not unexpected because the fall months are when the greatest amount of water is traditionally used, particularly on outdoor ornamental landscapes.

Although most weather forecasts predict a strong El Niño this winter that could bring substantial rainfall totals, water officials are calling for residents to keep up their conservation efforts through the winter. These include reducing outdoor watering to once a month and prohibitions against watering during a rainstorm and within 48 hours directly following rain.

“With continued heat, the danger of more wildfire, and no way of knowing when the drought will end, every drop of water that remains in our local reservoirs and aquifers is insurance in case of another dry year or more,” Marcus said.

Many local governments now have state-funded turf removal and toilet replacement rebates in place to further encourage water conservation. One of those is the city of Arroyo Grande, which has saved nearly 32 percent over 2013.

The City Council set up a water neutralization fund in 2004 using developer fees to fund such activities as turf removal, washing machine replacement rebates and plumbing retrofits, said Geoff English, Arroyo Grande public works director.

“The City Council made water conservation a priority, and the residents of Arroyo Grande have responded well,” he said.

SLO County Water Conservation

September 2015 compared to September 2013

Water Supplier

Conservation Standard

Water Savings

Arroyo Grande

28%

31.9%

Atascadero Mutual Water Co.

28%

26.9%

Morro Bay

12%

17.1%

Nipomo CSD

28%

28%

Paso Robles

28%

29.5%

Pismo Beach

24%

19.6%

San Luis Obispo

12%

19.2%

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