Santa Margarita Water District customers used less water in August 2014 compared to the same month last year, despite temperatures that routinely reached into the 80s. The State Water Resources Control Board reported Tuesday that water use dropped across California.
SMWD’s 165,000 customers in southern Orange County used 2,949 acre feet of water in August 2014, down from 3,099 in August 2013. An acre foot of water is enough to serve two households of four for an entire year.
Statewide, water use was cut 11.5 percent for the month of August, according to the latest report by the State Water Resources Control Board. The state board requires local agencies such as SMWD to report water use monthly. The August statewide water saving is a significant jump from the 7.5 percent reported in July and 4 percent in June, as compared to a year ago.
SMWD Water Use Efficiency Administrator Nate Adams credited customers with changing their behavior.
“We see evidence of those changes by way of water use, rebate activity level, and RSVP/attendance in our landscape workshops,” Adams said, noting that 40 people are already signed up for the District’s mid-week landscape workshop.
Earlier this month, SMWD reported its customers have removed more turf to save water in just the first three months of the current fiscal year than was taken out in the entire previous year. In fiscal 2015, customers have removed 85,000 square feet of turf, compared to 66,000 square feet in all of fiscal 2014. In Southern California residential customers submitted applications to remove 3.8 million square feet, or 2,533 front yards, in August alone. In the commercial sector, 7.5 million square feet, or 130 football fields’ worth of turf, was slated for removal. Since the beginning of the year, $42.9 million in rebates for turf removal have been requested region wide.
As California enters the fourth year of unprecedented drought, SMWD is under Stage 2 of its Conservation Ordinance, which limits homeowners to watering three-days a week and bars restaurants from serving water unless requested, among other water-saving measures.