Conservation pushes back phase three water rationing

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Avalon’s water conservation has been a success so far in the second stage of the project, which has pushed back the next step of the plan even further than expected.

Phase three water rationing on the Island is projected for late October or early November of this year said, Jeff Lawrence of Southern California Edison at Avalon’s City Council meeting on Feb. 17. Lawrence is the project manager of the water-rationing project on the Island, and stage three means that residents will have to cut their water usage in half when it’s implemented.

Avalon’s water conservation has been a success so far in the second stage of the project, which has pushed back the next step of the plan even further than expected.

Phase three water rationing on the Island is projected for late October or early November of this year said, Jeff Lawrence of Southern California Edison at Avalon’s City Council meeting on Feb. 17. Lawrence is the project manager of the water-rationing project on the Island, and stage three means that residents will have to cut their water usage in half when it’s implemented.

At the meeting, Lawrence presented an update for stage two of the rationing project and  said if the current results are sustained stage three will not be implemented until after summer. “Through the end of January we have been able to conserve 67 acre feet of water in just six months of stage two water conservation,” said Lawrence.

“So roughly about three months of water supply during 2014, we’ve been able to conserve for our rationing plan.”

The forecast for stage three assumes that there will be no rainfall in the coming months so if the Island does see a bit of rain that can only help in extending the timeframe for the next phase.

Phase two of the program has seen continued success in water conservation since its implementation in August 2012.

Since then, water usage has gone down about 35 percent and visitation to the Island has increased by 25 percent. The continued success of the rationing project has been due much in part by the cooperation of Avalon’s residents, which is highlighted by the decreasing number of second time water usage violations.

Lawrence said that in the past four weeks only about one or two flow-restricting devices we’re installed per week, which he said is a significant decrease. Flow-restricting devices are mandated for repeat offenders of water usage restrictions and currently there are 120 installed on the Island. Although, you can have the flow restricting device removed from your property if you pay a fee of $200, which only one person has done so far.

There hasn’t been a significant change in the reservoir levels at the Thompson Reservoir despite the decrease in water usage. The reservoir level has stayed at 277 acre feet for about the last month. For those worried about the next step in the rationing program, Council Member Joe Sampson shared such concerns at the meeting.

“I’m passionate about the water here in Avalon. How it’s shipped and brought to residents, which is why I was elected to sit on this council,” said Sampson. “Right now people are starting to get a little bit panicked. It’s starting to get serious now. The water level at the lake is going very low. So, what is the contingency plan, possibly, before we go to stage three or four. Does [Edison] have water that you can pump in that we can use?”

Lawrence said that Edison is currently doing a study with a vendor about looking for economical, quick, alternative options for bringing water to the Island.

However, because it is an ongoing study, Lawrence said that he cannot commit to any options and no decision has been made as to when such options can be implemented. “Those issues still need to be resolved but we are actively in a study to look into all those options. Barging water, improving water reduction on the Island. Anything that we can implement in short turn around time,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence will continue to update the city on the second council meeting of every month until the project is seen through.

“Thank you for that. This information is very valuable to people,” said Council Member Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy.

“The more information that we get, the more people are going to get less edgy, and the more I’m going to get less edgy,” said Sampson.

If you notice any water usage violations on the Island, Lawrence urged residents to report them. The number to call is: 1-800-367-8851 and you can make a call Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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