Water conservation - How are we doing?
July 2022. After six weeks of water restrictions in the City, you may be wondering how we’re doing. The good news is that we used 30 percent less water in June this year than we did in June last year or in June 2020. The not-so-good news is that we still have a long way to go and are 31 percent above our target.
Our annual water use for 2020 and 2021 was 174 gallons per person per day. This is not just household use but is calculated from the total water usage in the City’s service area, including that supplied to residences, businesses, parks, schools etc., divided by the population of the City’s service area. Households use about three quarters of this. Calleguas Municipal Water District, which purchases and delivers water to the three purveyors in the City, provided each agency with a water budget based on the available water supplies. The purveyors serving Thousand Oaks each have an annual target of 80 gallons per person day, about half of our normal use. However, the target amount changes from month to month due to expected seasonality in water demand.
In June our target was 106 gallons per person per day. We finished the month at 37% above that target. We’re now two weeks into July and have a very similar target, 108 gallons per person per day. We continue to make progress and are now 31% above the target but clearly will need to step up our efforts to reach it.
What happens next?
In August, Metropolitan Water District (MWD) will make a decision on whether to increase water restrictions based on how the areas they serve that are dependent on water from the State Water Project, including east Ventura County, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire, are doing. MWD will determine whether we have saved enough water to continue under the current restrictions or whether further ones are necessary to get us through the year. It is possible that a complete ban on outside watering could come as soon as September 1st.
MWD has already stated that each agency, including the City, will need to move from a 15-minute to a 10-minute watering limit per irrigation zone by September 1st. Some agencies have already adopted a 10-minute limit. Cal-Am, serving west Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, and CalWater, serving the Westlake portion of Thousand Oaks, have already moved to a 10-minute limit.
What happens if we exceed our target?
Beginning in late Fall, MWD will impose penalty charges for water use exceeding the targets. The penalties are likely to be as much as $2000 per acre-foot of water levied on the water agencies themselves. This will more than double the cost of water for the City on any water above the target amounts. Clearly, in an effort to control costs, it is vital that we double our efforts to save water.
Thank you to everyone who has stepped up. Please continue your efforts and know that you are an important part of the solution. For those folk who still need to get on board – please stop watering your lawns, cover your pools, and transition your irrigation over to drip. We need everyone to do their part.