PALMDALE — As atmospheric rivers continue to pummel the state and reservoirs are filling beyond their historical levels, the Palmdale Water District is rolling back mandated water use restrictions.
The Board of Directors on Monday voted to change mandated water conservation measures to voluntary, removing fines and patrols for landscape watering outside the prescribed schedules.
“This has been a long drought and we appreciate the efforts of our customers who responded to our call for conservation,” Resource and Analytics Director Peter Thompson Jr. said. “Our water supply looks good this year, but conservation is still very important.”
The decision to revert to voluntary water conservation measures does not mean customers are enabled to use water freely, however. They are still asked to limit watering to three days per week (on any schedule they choose) and to avoid running irrigation during the hottest times of the day.
The Water Waste Policy still in effect includes the prohibition on watering landscape for 48 hours after measurable rain and requires customers to fix leaks within one week of identifying them.
Additionally, customers are asked to reduce their water use by 12%, instead of the 20% reduction included in the mandatory restrictions.
The rollback also eliminates the 40-cent drought surcharge added to the non-essential usage Tiers 3 to 5 as of April 1.
The District imposed the mandatory water restrictions in the Mandatory Stage 2 of the District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan in April 2022, in response to the severe drought conditions facing the state at the time.
Although the requirements have been relaxed, the Palmdale Water District will continue with the voluntary phase until the state rescinds its Stage 2 mandate, officials said.
“We can finally relax a bit, but this is not the last drought we’re going to see in California,” Thompson said. “So, valuing and conserving our water is something we all need to continue to embrace.”
The District continues to strive to meet its standard goal to save 5,000 acre-feet of water for 2024 and the following year, but the supply will be short by 12% if the State Water Project — one of the District’s primary sources of water — does not increase the allocation of 35% for the year. That allocation was set at the end of February, with the final allocation due to be set by June.
An acre-foot of water is equal to 326,000 gallons. A family of four in Palmdale uses an average of 190,000 gallons of water annually.
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