STPUD faces lower water reduction rate
South Tahoe Public Utilities District (STPUD) might see a drop of relief after being placed in the highest tier for mandatory state water reductions. According to Shannon Cotulla, STPUD's assistant general manager, the district spoke with State Water Resources Control Board staff responsible for calculating water consumption and revised the amount the district produced between June 2014 and February 2015. The Water Board had initially placed STPUD in its highest tier of water users, comparing water production from June 2013 to February 2014 to the same time the following year. Because of the calculation, STPUD faced a mandatory 36 percent water reduction. The SWRCB uses a calculation based on residential gallons-per-capita-per-day usage, or water used per person or household in a particular district. Statewide, various urban districts face a staggered requirement to conserve water from 4 percent to 36 percent. This comes following Gov. Jerry Brown's April 1 decision to institute a mandatory 25 percent water reduction in order to save 1.3 million acre-feet of water over nine months, or the amount currently in Lake Oroville. Prior to that, all water reduction efforts had been voluntary. The April 17 revised draft placed STPUD at 231.5 gallons-per-capita-day, something that the district disagreed with, in large part because of the area's high seasonal population and other unique circumstances. Cotulla, on Monday, said the numbers have since been revised downward to around a cumulative 150 gallons-per-capita-day. "That will change our requirements and lower us a bit," Cotulla said. However, he stressed nothing has been finalized yet. Based on the calculations at California's Drinking Water Information Clearinghouse urban water calculations, STPUD went from 169 residential gallons-per-capita-per-day in June 2014 to 50 gallons-per-capita-per-day in February 2015 compared to date in 2013. The Water Board makes its final decision regarding on the emergency regulations at its May 5-6 board meeting. It has stated previously it may revise calculations and tier rates up or down based on comments it receives. George Kostyrko, public affairs director for the Water Board, said Monday that he couldn't confirm that level of detail because of the number of agencies that submit water report data on a monthly basis. But he didn't rule it out either, especially if STPUD provided the appropriate data. "The presumption is that they have talked to us and that we've been responsive and we will make the changes once they send the information that validates their response," Kostyrko said.