December 22, 2016
Conservation and Drought
It’s been about 6 months since the State Water Board lifted the water conservation percentage mandate from a harsh 32 percent to a supply-based certification process of 0 percent for the District. Along with our wholesale water provider, the San Diego County Water Authority, the District has verified it has enough water on hand for the next 3 years, even with continued drought. With that said, we continue to promote water conservation, and many of the water use restrictions, such as using an automatic shut-off nozzle on hoses, no washing of sidewalks with water, etc, remain in place in and because that is the right thing to do. At this point, the District has cumulatively saved 28% from June 2015 to November 2016 as compared to 2013. The District would like to thank our many customers who have been doing a great job becoming very efficient at reducing water use by incorporating water restrictions and best management practices into their daily water conservation ethic. The District will caution that given the unknowns of future rain fall, and similar to keeping a savings account for emergencies, that customers continue to incorporate a day-day water use efficient ethic, in line with Level 1 Drought Watch and our drought ordinance requirements. Conservation is now a way of life in California, and we must all work together to continue to preserve and conserve this vital resource. In fact, the State Water Board, Department of Water Resources and other state agencies, in concert with the Governor’s executive Order B-36-17, are now proposing long-term water use restrictions that will have a significant impact to the way the District operates, which proposes to allocate a certain amount of water to the District, no matter how much we have in reserve, as well as impact the local economy, and will increase rates without legitimate reason. Based on that, the District has submitted several letters on this proposed report and plan, and the latest version of that letter is included here. All information about conservation, drought and current restrictions can be found in the slideshow on our homepage. To view the Impending Executive Order B-37-16, please click here.
Administration and Finance
There are lots of great things happening on the administrative side of the District. We are three-quarters of the way through the implementation of our Enterprise Resource Project (ERP), which is a complete update to all our financial, utilities billing, payroll, asset management, customer service, and maintenance management systems, replacing systems that were over 25 years old and no longer receiving technical support. Many of you responded to a recent survey questionnaire on District performance, with an overwhelming positive approval rating. We also thank you for your candid feedback and recommendations and are discussing future implementation of several of these comments, such as how to potentially reduce credit card fees for on-line bill pay. We’ve also sent information about how to understand your bill and you can now access your account information 24/7 and now have more ways to pay your bill. WaterSmart, though not specifically a finance software, provides you daily use information and the ability to receive text, email, or voicemail alerts when there is potentially a leak or unusual usage. In fact, through WaterSmart, we have discovered and notified customers on approximately 3500 leaks, saving an estimated 750-1000 gallons of water per leak. If you have not already done so, please sign up for WaterSmart at https://rincon.waterinsight.com/index.php/welcome/login.
Operations and Engineering
The District continues to complete a variety of much needed Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and Renewal and Replacement (R&R) projects to keep the systems in tip-top shape. Several CIP projects recently completed or underway include construction of the new North Broadway and Laurashawn area pipelines and appurtenances, Via Loma pipeline slope repairs, and Reservoir 6 Coating repairs. The District is also finalizing fire flow and pipeline improvement surveys, which supports the focus of over $9 million in upcoming CIP projects and improvements to District delivery systems. All of these projects improve system reliability and reduce long term costs. The District will be awarding contracts in January 2017 for the R1 Water tank to recycled water conversion project and the Ash Street Bypass project, with construction to follow thereafter.
This and That
The District continues to stay involved with the community, with staff donating over 75 pounds of non-perishable goods to a local foodbank this holiday season, completing a rain barrel distribution event in early December with over 320 rain barrels distributed, and are planning a couple of conservation and WaterSmart workshops for the beginning of 2017. We thank you for your cooperation with conservation and your patience if affected by CIP or other operations and maintenance projects. We also look forward to your feedback on District operations and you can reach us at 760-745-5522.