“During this unprecedented drought, everyone must make tough decisions. The State Water Resource Control Board recently announced San Juan Water District must reduce water use by 36 percent compared to 2013. Our board and staff are working diligently to make sure our customers have the tools necessary to meet that target.
“Our district has higher than average per capita water use. While part of that is due to the region’s hydrology and population density, the district is committed to sustainably reducing water use. The board has met twice since the governor’s emergency declaration on April 1. They will quickly be announcing the district’s drought response plan to meet the new state mandates.
“At the direction of the board, staff is working with customers to reduce their use through public outreach and education. They are also looking into options such as conservation rates, fines and increasing staff, all in an effort to meet the required 36 percent water use reduction. The district obtained a 22 percent reduction for June 2014 to February of this year.
“Staff is implementing new programs and services to help customers continue to conserve. One program is the WaterSmart software that tracks water use and finds new ways for customers to save water indoors and out.
“In February 2014, the district entered into a mandatory water conservation stage requiring 25 percent cutbacks. They were among the first agencies in the state to enact mandatory water conservation measures. After entering this mandatory stage, San Juan’s reductions for the year averaged 32 percent.
“The district is prepared to continue heightened conservation efforts to meet the State Water Resources Control Board’s 36 percent mandate.”
– Shauna Lorance, general manager, San Juan Water District
*Shauna Lorance / Op-ed