Water purveyors cautiously optimistic | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Water purveyors cautiously optimistic

South Shore’s water supply is in good shape but water purveyors on both sides of the state line want residents to continue conservation efforts.

“There’s enough water for everyone but there’s not enough water to waste,” said Duane Wallace, a South Tahoe Public Utility District boardmember.

Last month, STPUD, which provides water and sewer service to the California side of South Shore, asked residents to adopt an odd-even irrigation plan, where even numbered addresses water on even dates of the year and vice versa. The watering schedule came as a defense to the district’s already stretched water supplies, which have been cut nearly 30 percent as a result of contamination by the fuel additive MTBE.

Utility spokesman Dennis Cocking said the conservation efforts have worked.

“I think the community is really getting behind this,” Cocking said. “But I want to caution the public that, even though we’re doing well, we’ll still have to water on an every-other day basis for the the rest of the summer to avoid mandatory water restrictions.”

The Kingsbury General Improvement District, which serves the Stateline area, is operating on one-quarter of its normal water supply while it works on rehabilitating water tanks through July.

KGID is also asking its customers to irrigate every other day, with odd addresses watering Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and even addresses watering Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

In addition, the district is requesting that customers reduce their everyday water use.

“Run water only when absolutely necessary,” said Linda Phillips, KGID senior accountant. “Try to cut water use down by 20 percent through July, until the tank rehabilitation project is done.”

While restrictions on South Shore’s Nevada side may end as soon as August, STPUD will be monitoring customer water use as the sizzling summer months go on.

District officials will consider imposing mandatory water restrictions on its customers when water use reaches 13.5 million gallons per day, Cocking said.

“It’s not automatic at 13 million gallons but that’s when we start looking seriously at water restrictions,” he said. “The Fourth of July holiday is the litmus test for how things are going. Typically, this sets the tone for the rest of the summer.”

Cocking said consumption in the district during the last month has ranked at about 10 to 11 million gallons of water per day. Cooler than normal temperatures on the Fourth of July holiday helped keep water consumption below the mandatory water-restrictions mark.

As added support, STPUD opened a new well last week on Forest Service property near Camp Richardson. Cocking said the well can pump up to 450 gallons per minute to the South “Y” area of South Lake Tahoe.

Still, water is a precious commodity.

“We’re not having to bring water in from other zones and that has given us some operational flexibility but it hasn’t changed the need for conservation,” Cocking said.

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