In the face of California entering a fourth year of drought and the Governor declaring a State of Emergency as it relates to the supply of water, the California State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) has adopted an extensive list of regulatory mandates upon all urban water suppliers. These mandates are intended to reduce consumption by an amount determined based on the average Residential Gallons per Capita per Day (“R-GPCD”) for the summer months of July, August and September of 2014. Failure to comply with regulatory mandates set by the State will subject the City of Glendora to fines of $10,000 per day and possible Cease and Desist Orders.
Recognizing that the water customers of Glendora have already reduced consumption from over 4.3 billion gallons annually in 2008 to approximately 3.8 billion during the measuring period of 2014, the City Council for the City of Glendora adopted a series of steps within a proposed water conservation plan presented by staff at their May 26, 2015 meeting. Despite the efforts and conservation up to date, the State is requiring Glendora to reduce the monthly R-GPCD by 36% as compared to 2013 each and every month starting this June thru February 2016.
The steps include the following:
- Continuation of Phase 1 water restrictions imposed in 2008
- Limit all outdoor ornamental turf watering to no more than two-days a week
- Cessation of street median turf watering starting June 1st
- Acceleration of Smart Meter installation to assist customers and the City in effectively monitoring water consumption
- Continued limitation of passive park turf watering to two-days a week
- Expansion of the City’s supplemental water rebate program started in 2008
- Increase staffing level within the Water Conservation Division to assist customers filing for rebates, conducting water use efficiency audits and patrolling the city for non-compliant situations
- Increase Capital expenditures for city facilities to become more water efficient and landscape alterations to achieve 25% savings.
While the City has raised various points of concern with the Water Board during public comment periods about the fairness and appropriateness of using a residential gallons per day measurement, they have chosen to continue in that direction until further notice and adopted the measurement into law.
“R-GPCD is an inaccurate way to measure conservation and the arbitrary year in which the State has chosen to compare against – 2013 versus 2015 – is problematic as evidenced by the over 300 written comments they received during the rule setting discussion” said City Manager Chris Jeffers. “The City Council unfortunately has been directed by the State to achieve these reductions and has been given no tools or help from the State.”
The staff report presented indicated the cost to comply with the State mandate will cause the loss of nearly $ 2 million in revenue from the mandated reduction.
The City Council has directed staff to conduct several town hall discussions with the community over the next 8 weeks to educate them on the mandate and the different elements of the adopted water conservation plan, including the benefits of the Metropolitan Water District and the City of Glendora water rebate programs that could reimburse them for significant amounts of any turf removal and/or replacement of water using devices/appliances. Announcements of the town hall meeting dates will be mailed to the community in the near future.