El Dorado County Fails Water Conservation Efforts
The Sacramento region as a whole has made strides to accommodate this year’s severe drought, cutting overall water use 18 percent compared with the past two years, according to the Regional Water Authority...
The Regional Water Authority is a joint powers authority formed in 2001 to promote collaborative water management in Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado counties....
The authority’s board of directors on Jan. 9 passed a resolution urging member agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent. One week later, Gov. Jerry Brown passed a drought emergency declaration calling on every Californian to do the same...
Although the Sacramento region appears close to that 20 percent goal... In addition, each has slightly different conservation targets due to its own unique supply situation.
For example, El Dorado Irrigation District, which serves communities from El Dorado Hills to Pollock Pines, has called for 30 percent conservation. But as of June 10, customers were achieving only 6 percent conservation, and for most of April they consumed more water than the average over the past three years.
Message from EID General Manager: Update on the Drought
As of June 10, conservation during the week of June 4 to June 10 was just 3 percent below the three-year average and cumulative year-to-date (January 1 to June 10) conservation was only 6 percent below. We’re still a long way off from our 30 percent target.
As we transition to the three-days-a-week watering schedule starting June 16, I am mindful of the increasing need for conservation during this severe ongoing drought. Please limit your watering outside to only three days a week. Find your schedule at www.eid.org/WateringRestrictions.
At its June 9 meeting, Directors Coco, Day, and Prada voted to not implement a temporary drought surcharge on the top 30 percent of EID’s water users. Some board members indicated that a surcharge should only be used as a last resort option.
Drought surcharges are one tool to promote conservation. A surcharge on high water use sends a price signal to high water users to encourage cutting back. It also sends a signal to the many EID customers who are diligently conserving every week that we are using every tool in our toolbox to help lower water use.
The 30 percent surcharge that has been proposed to the board would be applied only to high water users—those that use more than 4,500 cubic feet of water per billing cycle. On average this would be about $18 on each bill. Customers using less than 4,500 cubic feet (33,662 gallons) per billing cycle would not be affected.
The revenues received from a drought surcharge are designed to be revenue neutral. The money received would be used to defray the costs of unbudgeted water efficiency and drought outreach expenses.
EID has reached out to its customers to conserve water so we can ensure adequate carryover storage in Jenkinson Lake, the district’s main water storage reservoir. Adequate carryover means keeping enough water in the lake to buffer against the potential effects of another dry winter. Many EID customers are conserving—we know this because we’re tracking both weekly and cumulative year-to-date water conservation.
It is always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. EID is planning for another dry year. While we hope next winter is a wet one, with your help, we will be prepared if it’s not. And we need to use every tool in our toolbox to help us get there.