Utility District hits conservation target | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Utility District hits conservation target

Jack Barnwell

South Tahoe Public Utilities District (STPUD) hit – and exceeded – a water production conservation goal for June.

General Manager Richard Solbrig reported that STPUD conserved around 24 percent in June, about 4 percent above its 20 percent goal.

“It was largely driven by the precipitation and weather we had in June,” Solbrig said.

He added conservation efforts set down by the California State Water Resources Control Board for 2015 will be cumulative would benefit the district heading into July.

The district expects water demand to peak in July, especially during the July 4 weekend. Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit the area for the Independence Day celebrations.

“That’s going to boost up demand and that’s good for business but in terms of conservation, it will be a bigger challenge,” Solbrig said.

California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a mandatory 20 percent water conservation measure for water agencies, businesses and residents on April 1 following the annual snowpack survey. With dismal reports and California gripped in its fourth year of drought, the state Water Board approved the policy in May.

Agencies that don’t comply face a $10,000-per-day fine until things get back on track.

Solbrig credited district staff for a lot of the conservation work, including outreach programs by Water Conservation Specialist Donielle Morse and her team.

“They have been working hard since early May on our conservation program,” Solbrig said. Other measures include the irrigation measures the district enacted, such as limiting watering to three times a week for only 20 minutes, and only between select periods of time.

Since measures went into effect, the district has issued 155 violation notices, though none have resulted in fines.

The district has increased its funding for its turf buy back program for the year. STPUD already has 75 residential properties enrolled and has removed 100,000 square feet of turf in addition to 20,000 square feet for commercial customers.

“I think with people cooperating and following the rules, we will get close enough that we can avoid Jerry Brown’s $10,000 hammer from landing on us,” Solbrig said.

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