Rancho Santa Fe water district tops statewide list for water usage


By City News Service

The Santa Fe Irrigation District announced Nov. 5 it’s on target to meet state-mandated per-capita water consumption reduction targets, despite a report showing residents in Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch and Solana Beach topped a statewide list for water usage in September.

The figures released by the state Water Resources Control Board showed residential per-capita daily water consumption for districts around California, which is in the midst of an extreme drought. Officials from the governor to local water officials have been urging customers to conserve water in case the state has another dry winter.

The Santa Fe Irrigation District’s around 19,400 customers used 584.4 gallons per capita per day in September, according to the report.

According to the state report, the Rainbow Municipal Water District near Fallbrook was the second-largest water user locally with 428.6 gallons daily per capita in September, followed by the city of Oceanside at 303.48 gallons; the Valley Center Municipal Water District at 271.8 gallons; and the city of Poway at 204 gallons.

The San Dieguito Water District, which serves Encinitas, was at 154 gallons; and the city of San Diego, which has also enacted mandatory water restrictions, was at 81.83 gallons.

The figures did not take into account population density, population growth, temperature and evaporation rates, topography and socio-economic measures, according to the water board.

SFID General Manager Michael Bardin said the irrigation district has reduced its overall potable water demand by over 20 percent since 2007 to its current annual consumption of approximately 11,000 acre feet.’’

This has been accomplished through public education, conservation program incentives and rebates, and the conversion of large irrigation users to recycled water supplies,’’ he said.

The SFID is on target to meet state mandated per capita water usage reduction targets, as part of California’s overall water management plan,’’ Bardin said.As a result of the ongoing drought and emergency water conservation measures mandated by the (state board), Santa Fe Irrigation District elevated its response under its Water Shortage Response Plan to a Level 2 Condition, implementing mandatory water use restrictions, including restrictions on outdoor water irrigation.’’

State water board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said release of the water use data, which is a first for the state, will inform localized conservation efforts and should start conversations in every community in California about the best and most judicious use of our precious water.’’

Every gallon saved today postpones the need for more drastic, difficult and expensive action should the drought continue into next year or beyond,’’ she said.

State water board officials said the statewide conservation rate leveled off in September, after three months of improvements. The total urban water conservation rate across California dropped slightly to 10.3 percent in September.

The per capita daily water use figures were reported by nearly 400 urban water agencies statewide as a requirement of the Emergency Water Conservation Regulation adopted by the state Water Board in July.

The figures varied widely, with the San Francisco Bay region averaging 85.2 gallons per person per day and Colorado River region using around 251.9 gallons per person per day, according to the state water board.