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Water cuts to be topic at upcoming Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach water district meeting

New, mandatory water-use restrictions and water allocations for customers of Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID) will be discussed in detail at a public meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. June 23 at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, 1505 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach.

Customers are invited to learn more about the water cuts and have their questions answered.

On May 21, the district’s board of directors approved new customer water allocations as well as Response Level 3 mandatory water restrictions and penalties.

New water allocations are effective beginning July 1, 2015. The allocations are designed to meet the state’s mandated 36 percent cut in district-wide water use, put in place because of the worst drought in state history. To achieve this, the district is providing an essential allotment for basic indoor needs to all, but requiring any usage above that to be reduced by 45 percent compared with each property’s 2013 usage. The result will be a 36 percent district-wide cut in use.

Each customer will be provided an allocation for their property measured in hundred cubic feet (HCF). One HCF is equal to 748 gallons. The allocations are as follows:

Residential allocations: Each residential customer will receive an essential use allotment of 15 HCF of water per two-month billing period (11,220 gallons) with no restrictions. This is to ensure every customer has adequate water for basic household needs. Any remaining water use must be reduced 45 percent compared with what that property used in 2013 during the same billing period.

Customers can find their allocation on their bills starting in July and through the “My Account” portal on the district’s website.

Multi-family allocations: Multi-family customers will receive a base usage of 13 HCF per dwelling unit per two-month billing period. All usage above this base will require a 45 percent cutback compared to the property’s 2013 usage.

Government and commercial allocations: The state goal is to minimize outdoor water use. Government and businesses will, therefore, be allotted their lowest bi-monthly usage during 2013 as a base amount with no cutback. All usage above this base will require a 45 percent cutback compared to the property’s 2013 usage.

In addition, water use restrictions are increased effective June 1 to Level 3. The most significant change is a reduction from three-day per week to two-day per week watering. The watering days are: Residential ODD addresses, Sunday and Thursday, and EVEN addresses are Wednesday and Saturday. Multi-family and all other are Monday and Friday. Irrigation of landscaping must be before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on assigned days.

“We’re facing the challenge of a generation when it comes to water in California,” says Santa Fe Irrigation District General Manager Michael Bardin. “The state is plowing new ground. At the end of the day, we’ve got a problem with water in the state, and we all have to use less water.”

In order to help customers reduce water use, the district has expanded its conservation program which includes extensive rebates, incentives, and a water checkup program in which a water conservation professional will come to customers’ homes and businesses for free to identify water savings opportunities.

The district is also carrying out an extensive public outreach program through mailers, the press, web, social media, local presentations and the public meeting on June 23 described above. Examples of the resources available at www.SFIDwater.org include: a summary of the entire water cutback program; document on how to read your meter; each property’s allocation; summary of water use restrictions; conservation rebates, incentives and programs.

“Our community is unusual in that it is zoned with many large lots with lots of landscaping, ranchettes and horses,” Bardin said. “It takes a lot of water to maintain these properties. As a result, our water use is high and so the state has given us the highest level of cutbacks — 36 percent less than what was used in 2013.”

Further details about irrigation regulations, conservation tips, landscaping ideas and registering for a free WaterSmart checkup may be obtained by visiting irrigation district’s web site — www.sfidwater.org — or liking the Santa Fe Irrigation District on Facebook, or following #SFIDwatersavvy on Twitter.