(Apple Valley)– Last week, Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. held a community meeting with hundreds of their customers to discuss their Water Shortage Contingency Plan in response to the water restrictions imposed by Governor Jerry Brown.
There wasn’t an empty seat in the room as nearly 400 Apple Valley residents filled the Performing Arts Center at Granite Hills High School in Apple Valley. Residents stood in the hallways and the foyer to listen to Ranchos Water representatives explain their plan to deal with the extreme drought conditions. At least one hundred people submitted questions, which were answered by a panel of experts following the presentation.
“Conservation is a significant part of what we will be discussing this evening and is a prudent and needed course of action as we deal with the drought,” said Tony Penna, General Manager of Ranchos Water.
Conservation is key when it comes to obtaining and maintaining the water reduction goal for Ranchos Water customers, which the CA State Water Resource Control Board designated as a 28% reduction from 2013 usage. Residential water use restrictions include; no outdoor irrigation run off, shut off nozzles required for water hoses, no outside watering 48 hours after a rain event and others.
Residents showed up by the masses to learn what the new State water restrictions will mean to them. With concerns following the initial, mandated letter sent out by Ranchos Water, many feared there would be fines for those not in compliance with the State mandated reductions. Penna dispelled any notion of fines to the crowd’s resounding approval. “Regarding fines, nowhere in our letter and nowhere in our plans are there any scenarios where we are going to fine someone,” said Penna. “Plans from the CPUC are always subject to change and could change in the future, but as far down the road as we can see, Apple Valley Ranchos will not be fining anyone.”
The contingency plan has moved to stage two, which includes drought surcharges for those that use in excess of residential allocations. “We are actually moving to stage two immediately,” said Eric Larsen, Manger of Financial Services at Ranchos Water. “Stage one are the things we already had in place. What that’s going to do is institute some additional drought surcharges. Something to keep in mind on the surcharges, if you are already conserving, if you are operating at that 16 CCF per month, you are not going to see any difference in your water bill. That’s the good news, and about 53% of our customers are already there, and another 14% are already really close to that.”
Many residents may not be familiar with the term CCF and Water Conservation Coordinator Norma Armenta explained it and used the performing arts building to illustrate a visual for water consumption. “One CCF, which stands for 100 cubic feet, equals 748 gallons, which is shown as one unit on your bill. When we were looking for a venue for this meeting, I asked for the measurements of this huge room and I figured out that it could hold 440,000 gallons of water. We have customers, not a lot, that use that much water in a billing cycle.”
The overall tone of the meeting was positive, and residents learned how the drought restrictions would affect them. The theme of the meeting would have to be “we want to help”, as there are many ways Ranchos Water can help with water use reduction. These include conservation tools such as water hose nozzles, faucet aerators, a list of drought tolerant plants, which Ranchos provides it customers at no additional cost, as well as information the popular Cash for Grass program, made possible by the Mojave Water Agency.
Armenta spoke on Cash for Grass, the popular turf removal program, including the success of conservation efforts shown by the residents of Apple Valley. “Since 2008, when the program began, over 7 million square feet of turf has been removed, and 42% of that has been from Apple Valley residents.”
“We want to help,” said Penna in his closing remarks of the presentation. “When we say we can do it, it’s not just for the sake of accomplishing the goal, but because we need to do it for our benefit in the High Desert and Apple Valley in particular.”
For more information on the Water Shortage Contingency Plan, as well as to receive assistance and tools regarding water conservation, contact Ranchos Water at (760) 247-6484 or visit them online at www.avrwater.com.
About Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company
Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co. delivers reliable, quality water service to about 63,000 people, in the Town of Apple Valley and parts of San Bernardino County. Ranchos Water is a subsidiary of Park Water Co., based in Los Angeles County, which provides contracted and regulated water utility services. In addition to Ranchos Water, Park Water owns Mountain Water Co. serving Missoula, Montana. Park Water and its subsidiaries provide safe, reliable drinking water service to approximately 300,000 people. Additional information about Ranchos Water can be found by visiting www.avrwater.com and www.applevalleywaterfacts.com.