The Poway City Council adopted a resolution at the March 7 meeting that eases outdoor watering restrictions for Poway water customers. The resolution moved Poway from a Level 2 Water Shortage Alert to a Level 1 Water Shortage Watch.
During a “watch,” water use efficiency measures are voluntary. Water customers are no longer held to a defined outdoor watering schedule. However, the city will continue to encourage voluntary compliance with water conservation measures as listed in the Poway Municipal Code.
“Our city put a tremendous amount of work into conserving water when it was needed and we don’t want to turn our back on that,” said City Manager Tina White. “But, the region’s water supply is healthy. We put decisions about water use back into the hands of our customers and encourage a ‘water smart’ lifestyle.”
State mandated restrictions are still in effect. The following actions are prohibited in California:
- Washing sidewalks and/or driveways
- Allowing runoff from sprinklers
- Washing a car using a hose without a shut-off nozzle
- Watering outdoors during and within 48 hours of measurable rainfall
See complete list here.
Throughout the drought, Poway water customers worked to help the city meet the water conservation targets set by the state. Water savings exceeded the mandated 24 percent reduction by 5.3 percent during the period of June 2015 to May 2016. When the San Diego County Water Authority self-certified that the region had a sufficient water supply and no mandated reduction was needed, water customers continued to save, maintaining a cumulative reduction of 27.7 percent.
The region’s improved water supply outlook won’t immediately impact water rates, which were set for the current year during January’s water rate hearing.
“The water we saved translated into less money coming in to cover the cost of providing water.” White said. “We tried to minimize the impact of the drought on our water customers, but the end result is that our water fund is near zero.”
In addition to a depleted water fund, the other factors contributing to this year’s water rate increase included:
- Reduced water sales coupled with the increased cost of wholesale water.
- Fixed costs to operate and maintain the water system regardless of water sales.
- The need to move forward on capital improvement projects to help Poway continue maintaining a safe, reliable and cost effective water and sewer service.
To read the council agenda report, click here.