OMWD Customers Continue to Conserve without State Mandated Reduction Target

Final calculations of Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2016 water use shows an overall reduction of 15 percent when compared to 2013 usage, demonstrating how customers continued to make conservation a way of life even after the state allowed OMWD to certify a zero percent conservation target in July, and despite 2016 being the hottest year on Earth since record keeping began in 1880.

In summer 2016, OMWD certified with the State Water Resources Control Board that water supplies would meet demands even if California’s drought persisted for an additional three years. This lifted OMWD’s state mandated water reduction, and OMWD moved to a Level 1 Water Supply Condition, which requested voluntary water conservation.

While the focus of the State Board is on monthly water use compared to the same month in 2013, this metric alone does not serve as a comprehensive measure of conservation efforts. For example, outdoor irrigation often accounts for the majority of our region’s water use and a wildfire emergency, heat wave, or major rainstorms can dramatically affect water usage in any given month. Additionally, a monthly comparison often overlooks sustainable efforts that reduce demand on imported water and aid in a region’s ability to weather drought conditions.

“Investments in long-term conservation efforts and local supply ensure that our region continues to meet water demands,” said OMWD General Manager Kimberly Thorner. “OMWD recently celebrated the completion of the Village Park Recycled Water Project, which will enable OMWD to serve an additional 114 million gallons of recycled water to the Village Park area annually. Recycled water, through the treatment and reuse of wastewater to offset potable water use, is really the ultimate water conservation. In addition, customers are making lifestyle changes such as upgrading to water-efficient devices and replacing unused turf areas with water smart landscapes.”

OMWD residential customers have taken advantage of over 5,000 rebates totaling approximately $2.6 million dollars on water-efficient devices and turf removal incentives. These upgrades at homes and businesses, including low-flow toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers, and efficient irrigation equipment, contribute to an estimated water savings of over 150 million gallons of water annually, without drastic changes in lifestyle.

“When asked to conserve, people usually start by finding ways to use less water such as taking shorter showers, not watering a lawn, or not flushing a toilet every time it is used,” said OMWD Director Bob Topolovac. “Improving efficiency is the next step as a 10-minute shower with an efficient showerhead uses less water than a 5-minute shower with an inefficient one.”

Information on rebates for water-efficient devices is available online at www.olivenhain.com/rebate. In addition, OMWD offers a variety of programs free of charge to assist customers in reducing their water use such as providing water use evaluations, distributing free water at our Residential Recycled Water Fill Station, and hosting workshops on water-smart landscaping.