Last night, the Vallecitos Water District’s Board of Directors voted to rescind the mandatory drought restrictions under its “Level 2 Drought Alert” and move to voluntary conservation measures under its “Level 1 Drought Watch,” thereby ending restrictions on outdoor watering. Vallecitos customers may now irrigate any day of the week with no limit on the number of watering days, and may irrigate their landscapes as long as necessary. However, the Board expressed their desire to sustain water conservation as a permanent way of life and adopted a new ordinance permanently prohibiting wasteful practices, such as:
Visible signs of runoff when watering landscapes
Watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Watering within 48 hours of a measurable rain event
Hosing down hardscapes (patios, sidewalks, etc.)
Not using a shut-off nozzle when washing cars
Not fixing leaks within 48 hours of discovery
The District’s action was taken in response to the State Water Resources Control Board recently terminating water use reduction mandates and allowing water agencies to set their own water use targets based upon their specific supply conditions. Recognizing persistent yet less severe drought conditions throughout California, the newly adopted emergency regulation, which is in effect through January 2017, mandates that urban water suppliers act to ensure at least a three year supply of water to their customers under drought conditions.
A thorough analysis determined that Vallecitos has sufficient water supplies for its customers, even if drought conditions continue for the next three years; therefore, the District won’t be subject to state-mandated water-use reductions through January 2017. This is due largely to its customers who saved 25 percent since June 2015 and the fact that Vallecitos now receives a portion of its water directly from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, which is a local, drought-resilient supply.
“Due to the exceptional conservation efforts by our customers and the foresight of the District to secure desalinated seawater, we are now able to give our customers greater flexibility when it comes to keeping trees, plants and vegetation alive,” said Vallecitos Board President, Mike Sannella. “We applaud our customers’ efforts and encourage them to continue to use water efficiently at all times.”
As you are aware, California is experiencing a significant drought. The drought is not only impacting the water supplies to residential locations but to the vast industry throughout the state. The purpose of this communication is to share with you the impact on the San Elijo Hills community and to discuss the ways we can work together to ensure San Elijo Hills supports our agencies and neighbors through conservation efforts.
Mandatory Water Conservation Regulations
On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown ordered the State Water Resources Control Board to implement reductions that will cut usage by 25%. As a result, the Vallecitos Water District raised its drought restrictions to Level 2. For a complete list of conservation actions, please visit www.vwd.org. We have also posted the drought restriction information (published by Vallecitos) on the Community Network at www.sanelijohillsnet.
Mandatory conservation actions related to landscape and irrigation include:
• Residential and commercial landscape irrigation is limited to no more than one day per week from November to May (no more than three days per week June through October).
• Irrigation is limited to no more than ten minutes per watering station. Systems using new water-efficient devices are excluded to this time constraint).
• Irrigation may only occur between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.
• All water leaks must be repaired within 72 hours of notification by the water district.
• Outdoor watering is prohibited during and up to 48 hours after a rain event.
• Stop operation of ornamental fountains unless reticulating water is used.
• Prevent waste water associated with inefficient landscaping as well as flows onto non-targeted areas.
These regulations include both residential landscaping as well as the common areas, parks, etc. throughout the community. The San Elijo Hills Community Association is cooperating with the restrictions and has cut back irrigation accordingly. Please note: there are locations throughout the community with water efficient devices. These areas will operate with different run times to ensure the plants receive the appropriate level of irrigation within the restricted time frames. The Board is also continuing to look at areas where irrigation conversion is appropriate (switching from spray heads to drip tubing), and we will implement upgrades to the system throughout the year.
We understand the water restrictions will impact the health of plant material. The Association will continue to maintain its landscaped areas through regular weeding, mowing, edging and removal of dead material. Owners are expected to do the same. Therefore, please continue to maintain your yards. Owners should remove dead plant material and keep areas neat and tidy but weeding, mulching, trimming, etc.
Landscape Renovation Options
There are many options available to owners wishing to upgrade their landscaping and introduce drought tolerant themes. The Community Design Standards spell out a number of approved low water use plants from front yards. This list is NOT all inclusive but is an excellent starting point for residents. The Standards also include details on plant coverage and the use of rock in landscaping. Owners who wish to upgrade the landscaping on their properties must obtain approval from the San Elijo Hills Architectural Committee prior to installation. The regulations, explanation of process and application can be found on the Community Network at www.sanelijohills.net. Please contact Liz McCardle at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Other Important Items to Note
The recent changes to the drought regulations will impact the Questhaven Park renovation project. The second part of the project was scheduled to begin on April 27. This project is on hold until the drought alter is reduced. Unfortunately, the new turf installed in the first phase of the project will be impacted. Please, please, please take care of the new grass area by reducing usage as much as possible. Wear appropriate shoes, use different areas to avoid wearing down the middle section, and avoid using the new grass for organized sports as much as possible.
In addition, while it uses recirculating water and is excluded from the ordinance, the fountain located in the town square will be turned off. The goal is to send a message that the community is sensitive to the water restrictions and will reduce opportunities for water loss and evaporation as much as possible. Please take a moment to talk with your children about the fountain and ask them to refrain from playing in the structure or vandalizing the area. The cost to repair assets from vandalism directly impacts our HOA dues.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and efforts to work together during this challenging time.
Board of Directors
San Elijo Hills Community Association