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Santa Fe Irrigation District strongly reinforces water conservation

REGION — As the water drought continues to take precedence, local water agencies such as the Santa Fe Irrigation District, are amplifying the dire need for water conservation.

Jessica Parks, public information officer at the Santa Fe Irrigation District, describes the drought as a serious one statewide. Water consumption needs to drop.

“Northern California did not receive the normal amount of rainfall,” she said. “This is actually the third year that we’ve been in a drought situation.”

Within Southern California, many projects have been built in an effort for water reserves.

Parks pointed out they have had a great deal of storage. But due to the drought, this storage has been used in order to mitigate not having to go into mandatory water usage restrictions earlier.

“So unfortunately, because we had above normal temperatures this winter and spring, and this is the third that we’ve been in a drought, we’ve used up a lot of that storage already,” she said. “So now, what’s happening is that unless we kind of put the brakes on our water usage, we might have to go actual allocation sooner than we expected.”

Currently, the District is at a Level 1 water restriction. By definition, it’s voluntary water usage where customers typically cut back on their outdoor use.

Customer recommendations have been watering outdoors three days a week for only 10 minutes per station. If watering needs require less than 10 minutes, customers are asked to cut back more.

The District has also advised customers to be certain their irrigation systems are in good working order and leak-free. If any pipes or irrigation parts are broken the District is asking that they be fixed immediately.

But these recommendations could change Aug. 21.

Staff is recommending to the board that water restrictions get bumped to Level 2.

“We have policies and procedures where we can declare a drought situation,” said Parks, adding how mandatory water usage restriction would be enforced.

There are a total of 4 Levels in water restrictions.

For Level 2, several restrictions are highlighted including specific days for watering, eradicating water waste, and stopping concrete overspray.

In an effort to help customers, the Santa Fe Irrigation District plans to do more public outreach and education.

“We’re also offering rebates, incentives and a free residential survey for our customers where someone will come out to their property and help that person become more water efficient,” said Parks, adding how the residential survey is complimentary.

Parks wants customers to know and understand that their agency is not trying to police them. Instead, they are there to help them.

The statewide drought is not to be taken lightly.

“We really want to make sure that all of our customers know that we’re here to help them in being water conscious and to conserve as much water as possible,” she said. “In order for us to be able to ensure water for next year, we have to go ahead and start tightening back our water usage now.”