RANCHO SANTA FE — During a recent RSF Association board of directors meeting, the direction took a sobering turn when Michael Bardin, general manager of the Santa Fe Irrigation District, took center stage.
He provided the directors and members with a summary on the water and drought conditions in the state; and, how the District was handling the situation and what was being asked of their customers.
“The drought is very, very serious. It’s the worst drought in the history of the state of California,” he said.
Bardin went on to say how the Sierra snowpack was at the lowest levels ever recorded and was followed by the second lowest last year. This creates a dire condition in terms of water.
“Our local water supplies, which come from Lake Hodges, are exhausted. We’ve used that water up and with no local rain, we don’t have any local water supplies,” he said. “The imported supplies, the ones that come from the Colorado River and the Bay Delta are going to be cut back this year.”
He went on to say how he wasn’t aware of what the cutback would be from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), which affects all of Southern California.
Bardin said with the governor’s recent pronouncement, he can see those cuts being up in the 20 to 25 percent range to retailers, such as the District.
“And we’re rolling back onto that system because we have no local water,” he said. “We’ve had the hottest and driest conditions we’ve ever experienced in the last couple of years.”
Bardin explained that its demands are “drying up” due to irrigating large properties. And this is causing the lack of water supply.
While the District is taking measures to decrease water usage, they are looking into the development of new supplies and actions. As this occurs, Bardin made a plea to the community.
“We’re asking everyone to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent. That’s going to be hard,” he said. “It’s time to sacrifice. I know folks are doing a lot, and we’re at a point where those next steps are going to be painful. It’s not irrigating your lawns and it’s changing your landscaping.”
Bardin also referred to a direct quote the governor made which indicated that the era of watering one’s lawn is coming to an end. While a Level 2 Water Restriction is currently being enforced, Bardin said, there’s a high probability it will raise to Level 3 within the next couple months.
At Level 2, irrigation can take place three times per week at particular times of the day.
“We’re not seeing a response that we need to see. So I’m here to ask you, the Association, and your committees to help us in getting that message out to the community. While it’s painful and unpleasant as Californians, we’re all, what I call consumer citizens, and water is one of the most precious natural resources we have,” he said. “It’s part of the agricultural industry. It’s part of the quality of life of this community and many across the state.”
Bardin invited the community to contact the District regarding programs, incentives and rebates which can help reduce the water demand.