Liquid News

IRWD Receives State Approval for Water Conservation Alternate Plan

The State Water Resources Control Board has approved IRWD’s alternate conservation plan for compliance with the State Board’s Drought Emergency Water Conservation Regulations. On August 15, IRWD submitted an alternate plan for implementation of the Emergency Regulations to the State Board to demonstrate that the District’s budget based rate structure and conservation programs provide a level of conservation superior to that achieved by implementing the limitations contained in the Emergency Regulations.

What are the new Statewide Restrictions?

Effective July 28, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board enacted Emergency Regulations due to the severe ongoing drought conditions throughout the state. These new regulations prohibit certain outdoor water uses and require urban water agencies to do one of two things:

  • Implement mandatory outdoor water use restrictions that restrict outdoor watering to two days a week or implement outdoor water restrictions as dictated by their water shortage contingency plans, OR
  • In lieu of number 1, agencies like IRWD who have a budget based rate structure may submit an alternate plan that shows that the level of water conserved due to the rate structure and other conservation programs is superior to that achieved by restricting outside watering to two days a week.

How State Board’s Approval Affects IRWD Customers

With the State Board’s approval of IRWD’s alternate plan, IRWD has implemented Option 2. Due to hard work by IRWD customers and the implementation of a budget based rate structure in 1991, IRWD per capita water use has declined 25% since 1991.  IRWD has demonstrated in its alternative plan that the IRWD budget based rate structure achieves excellent water saving results with an average residential water use per person per day around 85 gallons – far below the state average. The State Board’s approval letter commended IRWD’s commitment to using its budget based rate structure to accelerate drought response and found that the District’s other conservation and efficiency programs are exemplary.

The IRWD Water Shortage Contingency Plan

Budget based rate structures are the foundation of IRWD’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan. This rate structure allows IRWD to quickly respond to limited supplies through strong price signals, which result in the greatest conservation response from our customers. The IRWD Water Shortage Contingency Plan meets State requirements and uses the budget based rate structure at all drought levels as well as conservation programs, rather than mandatory restrictions, to achieve necessary water use reductions. Only in the event of an extreme shortage, such as a system outage when supplies are only available for public health and safety needs, will IRWD use mandatory outdoor water restrictions.

More information on the IRWD rates structure and implementation of the new statewide water restriction can be found here.

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