Updated water rules allow more flexibility

CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Municipal Water District is amending its Water Conservation Ordinance to allow the district to set outdoor watering schedules according to water conservation needs rather than prescribed days and times. This move will provide greater flexibility in how to meet water conservation goals.
California has faced severe water shortages due to a prolonged drought and legal restrictions on water pumped from Northern California. In April, the San Diego County Water Authority called for a mandatory 8 percent reduction in water use from its member agencies, including the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. To date, the region has cut back by 14 percent, and Carlsbad Municipal Water District customers have cut back by 16 percent. As a result many water agencies in the region are updating their drought ordinances to allow more flexibility in determining water use restrictions.
“People are doing the right thing when it comes to saving water, and we want to recognize that,” said Mark Stone, Carlsbad Municipal Water District general manager. “We don’t want to ask people to reduce outdoor watering even more if we are already meeting our targets for conservation.”
The changes to the ordinance allow the water district general manager to determine, under a level-two and level-three drought condition, how many days a week customers may water and for how long per sprinkler station. These rules will be published through newspaper advertisements and on the city Web site. The original ordinance called for a three-day-a-week watering schedule during warmer months, a one-day-a-week schedule during cooler months and a 10-minute per sprinkler station maximum. Once the proposed ordinance changes take effect, water district officials will likely call for a three-day-a-week watering schedule instead of the current one-day-a-week rule.
The ordinance changes were introduced at the Nov. 10 meeting of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District board of directors. The ordinance will be considered for adoption at its next board of directors meeting, Dec. 1. The changes would take effect 30 days later.
The existing ordinance, passed in December 2008, was based on the San Diego County Water Authority’s model ordinance and established what days outdoor watering could take place and how long each sprinkler station could run. When a level-two drought alert went into effect for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District July 1, new mandatory restrictions included limiting outdoor watering to no more than three days a week through October and one day a week starting Nov. 1. In addition, the ordinance states that sprinklers may only run up to 10 minutes per station.
About 85 percent of the city of Carlsbad gets water service from the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, a subsidiary district of the City of Carlsbad. The southeastern part of the city is served by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District and the Vallecitos Water District.
“The changes to our watering rules don’t mean the public can let up on water conservation efforts,” Stone said. “We still need everyone’s cooperation to manage through this water crisis. The good news is, the community is responding, and we want to say, ‘Great job, Carlsbad.’”
For more information, visit www.carlsbadca.gov/water or call (760) 438-2722.

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