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Restrictions placed for outdoor water use

CARLSBAD—City Council unanimously approved the move to “Drought Response Level 2” for the city after hearing a presentation from the Carlsbad Municipal Water District on Tuesday.

“The drought is continuing and it’s serious,” Wendy Chambers, general manager of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District (CMWD) told the Council.

Drought Response Level 2 is a mandate that limits residents outside water use to 10 minutes a day three days a week, depending on their address.

Residents living at even addresses can water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Residents living at odd addresses can water Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Apartments, condos and businesses are allowed to use water for landscaping on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Everyone is limited to watering between 10p.m. and 6 a.m.

The 10-minute limitation applies to one spout so residents could use sprinklers for 10 minutes and a hose for an additional 10 minutes each day, as long as they’re not using the same spigot.

Hoses are also now required to have shut-off nozzles in order to save water. Officials from the water district will survey neighborhoods and give the nozzles to people without them, said Mario Remillard, the CMWD conservation coordinator.

Officials from the water district will first visit people who ignore the water restrictions. If violators continue to ignore the restrictions, they will be issued fines.

Chambers said the CMWD’s primary goal is not to fine people but to educate people.

On July 15, The State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency regulations that focus on reducing the use of potable water on ornamental and turf grass landscapes, according to Chambers.

“What is unprecedented is the board made water conservation a mandate and can impose fines for up to $10,000 a day for local agencies that don’t comply,” said Chambers.

Chambers told the council that 50 percent of water use is outdoors. Sometimes the portion is higher, at 60 to 70 percent, which is why ornamental turf is being targeted in the Drought Response Level 2.

Level 3 has never been reached in Carlsbad.

Remillard said the city’s 28 agricultural businesses already use drip irrigation, which conserves water. He said he doesn’t expect the businesses to drastically reduce their water consumption, since drip irrigation improves efficiency.

Chambers said the Water Desalination plant, which is being built on the current site of the Encina Power Plant, is ahead of schedule.

It will provide a drought supply in the future and should be running by early 2016, said Chambers.

Councilman Keith Blackburn said he didn’t want the city to be encouraging tattle tailing on neighbors.
“A few years back, there was a hotline on how you can turn your neighbors in for using water,” said Blackburn. “That bothered me because we work very hard to build a community and it seemed to me [the hotline] was undermining that.”

Chambers told the council there would be no marketing aimed towards turning in neighbors.

The water district will alert residents through their website, social media, mailers, TV and Radio announcements and through “Water Waste Investigations.”