Last updated 6/21/2022 at 10:30am
On May 13, 2022, the State Water Resources Control Board approved an Emergency Regulation in response to California’s prolonged Drought. Following a series of below average water years, in 2021 – 22, most of the snow accumulation came from just two storms in December (202% of normal) that were followed by the driest January and February on record in the Sierra, and unfortunately March only brought a few weak systems (snowpack currently 30% of normal). As a result, many Reservoirs throughout the Federal and State systems are at historically low levels and Regulators are taking action now to protect the dwindling supplies.
All Urban Suppliers must comply with the State mandate. Urban Suppliers which are defined as a supplier, either publicly or privately owned, providing water for municipal purposes either directly or indirectly to more than 3,000 customers or supplying more than 3,000 acre-feet of water annually. Neither the number of customers nor annual deliveries are high enough in Borrego Springs for BWD to qualify. Furthermore, the hydrologic reality is Borrego Springs Basin is in continuous Drought response mode and a 75% reduction in pumping is needed on or before 2040 for Basin sustainability. At the June 14 meeting, the BWD Board will be receiving an update from staff on the issue of regulation applicability, or not, in Borrego Springs and discuss the appropriate response in this situation.
For those areas that are served by an Urban Supplier (not BWD customers), the largest impact from the new Regulations pertains to non-functional turf and hours of irrigation for all other landscapes. “Non-functional turf” means turf that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events. Non-functional turf does not include sports fields and turf that is regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events.
To prevent the unreasonable use of water and to promote water conservation, the use of potable water is prohibited for the irrigation of non-functional turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional sites. The use of water is not prohibited by this section to the extent necessary to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-turf plantings or to the extent necessary to address an immediate health and safety need.
Implement and enforce a rule or ordinance limiting landscape irrigation to no more than two days per week and prohibiting landscape irrigation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The taking of any action prohibited is an infraction punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each day in which the violation occurs. At this time, BWD staff will not be recommending that the Board enforce these regulations for the technical reasons mentioned above. However, BWD staff and Board will be discussing ways to encourage conservation in the future. The BWD Board Meeting where this item will be discussed is on June 14 at 9 a.m. for those of you who would like to comment.