Citizens’ Conservation Strategies

Ordinary citizens can eliminate the need for expensive new water supply development.

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GreywaterAction.org has information on greywater and rainwater systems and composting toilets.

The Central Coast Greywater Alliance sponsors local workshops on greywater installation

The Ecological Landscaping Association has a list of local landscapers dedicated to harmonizing with our climate and environs.

Soon we’d like to post a more thorough discussion of the potential of drought-tolerant landscapes, rainwater catchment, and irrigation with graywater. In the meantime, here is a list of conservation strategies that Ecology Action asked be evaluated for inclusion into water agency policy:

“Ecology Action requests that the following additional water conservation and efficiency measures be evaluated which may yield significant demand reductions, but were not identified in the City’s 2003 Integrated Water Plan or 2000 Water Conservation Plan.

• Applying the water use efficiency provisions of the updated California Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance to all existing multi-family and commercial properties with dedicated irrigation accounts, regardless of landscape size. The cost of this conservation measure must include enforcement of the ordinance. These properties are often the highest outdoor water users in a district. Conversion of 1,000 square feet of non-functional, cool season turf to drought tolerant landscaping may conserve 36.48 HCF (27,286 gallons)/year.1
• Providing a significant cost-share for removing non-functional turf and retrofitting spray irrigation systems to low-volume systems at multi-family and commercial facilities, targeting the highest water users in the district. This cost share might take the form of a no or low-interest loan from the water district to be repaid by the customer over a reasonable period of time.
• Stormwater catchment for toilet flushing in multi-family, public, and commercial buildings. Permitted by Chapter 6 of the CPC and UPC, up to the discretion of the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction).
• Providing a significant cost-share or subsidy to fund residential laundry graywater systems that provide decentralized drought insurance for residential ornamental landscapes.
• Facilitating the permitting of National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified composting toilets as a water conservation measure.

Although the City and District are among the lowest in per capita water use in the state, invigoration of existing CUWCC best management practices could contribute to additional water savings to meet all or a portion of the 2.5 million/gallon day or reduced plant size supply goal. These include:

• Achieving complete saturation of the toilet replacement market for customers that have not participated in the high efficiency toilet replacements rebate or demand offset program, focusing outreach efforts on absentee landlords and property management companies (BMP 14).
• Implementing water budgets for dedicated irrigation accounts with conservation rate structures that more severely penalize excessive water waste above 120% ETo. (BMP 5). • Increasing the absolute value of water to incentivize conservation, with special provisions to maintain equitable access to water for low-income families and seniors through “lifeline” programs (BMP 11). “

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