Claremont has impressive water-use figures in May

Drought-weary residents received a bit of good news at Tuesday night’s council meeting when City Manager Tony Ramos announced that Claremont was well on its way to meeting, and exceeding, water conservation reductions imposed by Governor Jerry Brown.

The governor issued an executive order in April calling for a 25 percent reduction in water usage for all of California. Claremont was hit with a 32 percent reduction from water use in 2013.

“I’m very pleased to say that Claremont reduced its water use by 40 percent in May 2015 over water use in May 2013,” Mr. Ramos told city council.

If Claremont residents don’t maintain at least a 32 percent reduction from 2013, they face the possibility of water allocations and surcharges for each household from the city’s water provider, Golden State Water Company.

By restricting outdoor water use to twice a week, cutting back on watering in medians and parks and reducing indoor water use, Claremont has thus far surpassed its goal. Mr. Ramos noted that the real challenge will be in the upcoming months as temperatures begin to climb.

“These conservation measures will need to extend through the hot summer months when water use is at its highest,” he told the council.

According to figures released by the State Water Resources Control Board earlier this month, Californians are taking the unprecedented water reductions seriously during this record drought.

Urban residents cut water consumption by nearly 29 percent from May 2013, more than double the 13.6 percent reduction reported for April. The savings were calculated from data submitted by more than 400 water suppliers—including Golden State Water Company—which must meet or exceed specified savings beginning in June or face potential fines.

Based on residential water consumption in summer 2014, the state has ordered the city’s water provider to cut 32 percent of its total water use during the months of June through February compared with 2013.

The data shows Golden State is complying with that order in Claremont. Golden State distributed 212 million gallons in May 2015, a sharp decrease from the 355 million gallons provided in May 2013. Residential use made up 64 percent of total water consumed in the city, with each resident using on average 118 gallons of water a day—a number well above the 87.5 gallon state average.

Golden State received 42 complaints of water wasting by Claremont customers in May 2015, almost double the amount of complaints received in the previous month. In both April and May 2015, six complaints required follow-up by the water company although no warnings were issued or penalties assessed.

To report water leaks and water wasting, call Golden State at (800) 999-4033. The line is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

When comparing residential water consumption to nearby districts, Claremont still remains one of the highest, coming in second only to Upland with 132 residential gallons per capita daily.

The cities of La Verne, Pomona, Chino and Ontario as well as the Monte Vista Water District were the lowest, falling below the state average for May.

While Claremont has exceeded its 32 percent water reduction goal imposed by the state for May, you only need to look around town to see the consequences. Lawns, medians and athletic fields, once lush and green, are slowly beginning to fade to gold.

“We have seen a noticeable decline in some of our sports fields, which we think might be a little more extreme than we need to be right now,” Mr. Ramos explained to council. “We’re going to be adding another day back to those watering schedules at certain sports parks where our children are in play and hopefully bring them back to a better condition than they currently are.”

While homeowners don’t have the luxury of adding another watering day to their schedules; they need not worry about repercussions from the city for letting their lawns “brown-out,” at least for now.

Governor Brown signed a bill on Monday prohibiting local governments from imposing fines on residents for violating “lawn maintenance” ordinances while the state is in emergency drought conditions.

City officials continue to move forward with plans on re-landscaping Shelton Park, Indian Hill Boulevard medians and Claremont City Hall to reduce turf.

A project plan for city hall will be presented to city council at their next meeting scheduled for July 28.

For more information on drought conditions in Claremont, visit the city’s website at www.ci.claremont.ca.us.

—Angela Bailey

news@claremont-courier.com

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