By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher–
The Indian Wells Valley Water District Water District general manager, George Croll, supplied an update on how California water conservation legislation bills like Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606 are influencing water conservation in the Indian Wells Valley.
Croll reported on the subject at the board meeting on January 8.
These bills establish water efficiency goals for urban water suppliers, focusing on long-term conservation practices to be met by 2030.
An official fact sheet on the bills titled Making Conservation a California Way of Life states, “Making Conservation a California Way of Life is a new regulatory framework proposed by State Water Board staff that establishes individualized efficiency goals for each Urban Retail Water Supplier. These goals are based on the unique characteristics of the supplier’s service area and give suppliers the flexibility to implement locally appropriate solutions.”
Because the bills are individualized, Croll addressed the critical role of accurate population figures in water usage calculations. He said, “The state uses 39,000 for our population estimate, but realistically, we’re closer to 32,000.” This discrepancy impacts the calculation of per capita water usage. Using the state’s estimate, Ridgecrest’s water usage stands at about 80.17 gallons per person per day, but with the district’s figure, it rises to roughly 98 gallons per person per day.
Croll stated, “We’re in compliance with some of the most stringent standards that have not come into effect for quite some time.”
In comparison to other communities, Croll noted that there were significant differences in water usage. He showed an unnamed community currently using double the regulated amount, indicating that they will soon need substantially reduced water consumption. This contrast underscores Ridgecrest’s success in effective water management and conservation practices.
“We’re doing exceptionally well compared to many other communities. While some are struggling to meet these standards, Ridgecrest is setting an example in water conservation,” he stated.
In an article titled Understanding Your Water Bill, the United States Environmental Protection Agency states, “The average American uses around 82 gallons per day per person in a household.”
The article also states that water use tends to be higher in dry climates.
For example, many homes locally use swamp coolers and evaporation-based cooling systems.
Member of the public Judie Decker said, “Here, of course, and in other desert communities, most people use evaporated coolers of some kind, and they take quite a bit of water. I don’t know what the tradeoff is for the cost of water versus the cost of electricity when having an AC, so it’s certainly something to consider.”
Water District board members acknowledged Judie’s comments. They said they are looking into regulation exemptions that may account for the use of water coolers and other means of living in a dry climate by the communities of the Indian Wells Valley.