El Toro Water District Takes Action to Encourage Customers to Save Water

CONTACT:Sherri Seitz, 949.837.7050 x 239

El Toro Water District takes action to encourage customers to save water Responding to state drought mandate, board limits watering, imposes a drought penalty and acts to reduce water allocations Under emergency orders from the state to cut water use by 24%, the El Toro Water District is calling on customers to conserve water indoors and outdoors.

To help ensure success, the water district added a drought penalty for customers who fail to conserve.

“We’re offering tips and rebates while funding is available to help customers succeed,” El Toro Water District General Manager Robert R. Hill said. “If customers rise to the challenge, they will avoid paying more.”

ETWD advises customers to look at how often they are running their sprinklers, and cut it down. For example, if you water three days a week, see how your plants do if you drop to two days. Or try reducing the minutes on each irrigation station. To encourage conservation throughout California’s ongoing drought, the
ETWD Board of Directors took a series of actions on June 9:

1.) The board reaffirmed a Level 1 Water Alert – mandating that customers water lawns and landscape no more than three days a week. Also, the following permanent mandatory conservation measures remain in effect:

  • Do not water between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., except by hand with an automatic shut‐ off nozzle.
  • Do not hose or wash down sidewalks, driveways or other pavement.
  • Do not run your hose while washing your vehicle. Use a bucket or a shutoff nozzle.
  • Do not water when it’s raining or for 48 hours afterward.
  • Fix leaks as soon as possible.
  • Do not allow runoff onto hardscapes.

2) The board imposed a temporary “drought penalty,” which will be charged to customers who exceed their water budgets. Customers who exceed their Tier I (indoor efficient) and Tier II (outdoor efficient) water budgets will be charged a $2 penalty for every billing unit in excess of their combined Tier I and Tier II water budget. (Customers are billed in units called “ccf.”  1 ccf = 748 gallons.) The drought penalty – in effect until rescinded by the Board of Directors – comes on top of the existing tiered conservation pricing, which already charges a higher price for water in excess of the Tier I and II water budgets.

3) The board approved a Cost of Service Study and agreed to hold a public hearing on July 30 to consider reductions in customer water budgets, effective Aug. 1:

  • Indoors, each household is currently budgeted 60 gallons per person per day. Under the new plan, that Tier I allocation will be permanently reduced to 55 gallons per person per day.
  • Outdoors, the plan applies a 50% “drought factor” adjustment to water budgets for each household and dedicated irrigation meter customer. In other words, the Tier II outdoor watering budget for each of those customers will be cut in half.

ETWD stressed that missing the 24% reduction target is not an option. Failure could lead to ETWD facing penalties up to $10,000 a day, which would need to be passed along to customers.
The board’s June 9 actions position the district to advance toward compliance with the state’s mandatory water usage reduction for the period of June 1, 2015, through Feb. 28, 2016, compared to the same period in 2013.

“These tighter budgets will send a stronger conservation signal to customers,” Hill said. “Even if your water use has been at the ‘efficient’ level in the past, you will need to use less water or pay a higher monthly bill.”
Hill added that ETWD is eager to help:

  • While funding lasts, rebates are available for residents who remove water‐thirsty lawns or install devices such as high‐efficiency washers, low‐flush toilets and smart irrigation timers.  Read details at ocwatersmart.com. Apply soon to avoid missing out.
  • Conservation tips and up‐to‐date drought information can be found at ETWD.com, bewaterwise.com, saveourwater.com and h2ouse.org.

A detailed explanation of ETWD’s tiered billing system can be found on the water bill and on the district’s website: etwd.com/customer‐service/bill‐pay/understanding‐ your‐bill/.
Customers with questions or concerns may contact ETWD Customer Service at 949.837.0660 or district@etwd.com.
If you witness water waste, here’s how to report it: file a report on www.ETWD.com   or call El Toro Water District at 949.837.0660.

The El Toro Water District is a District of Distinction accredited by the Special District Leadership Foundation because of its commitment to good governance and to ethical and sound operating practices.  ETWD provides full‐service potable water, wastewater and recycled water for use across portions of the cities of

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