By Sentry Staff

California has lifted the mandated statewide cuts in water use, and asked each supplier to provide an individual conservation plan, based on their assessments of what their three-year water supply will be if the drought continues.

While most local suppliers have submitted their tailored plans, state regulations continue to ban “wasteful uses,” including watering down sidewalks or hardscapes with a hose, over-watering a landscape to where water is running off the lawn, washing cars with hoses not equipped with a shut-off nozzle. Prohibitions also remain against homeowner’s associations or local governments taking action against homeowners who reduce or stop watering lawns.

The City of Orange has ended its two-times-per-week irrigation restriction, allowing homeowners to water their yards at their own discretion any time before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.  The city is still seeking a 10 percent reduction from 2013 baseline usage, but those cuts are voluntary.  Because city users cut their water consumption by almost 28 percent when mandated to do so by the state, the Orange Public Works Water Division is confident that its customers will easily meet the 10 percent mark.At the same time, however, Orange has approved construction of some 225 housing units within the past year. Those new residences will increase the city’s water consumption, while it asks current residents to cut back. Another 1,180 houses, comprising Santiago Hills II, will be served by the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD).

IRWD, serving Orange Park Acres, the canyons and the future Santiago Hills II, is stick-ing with state guidelines, but is not asking its customers to make specific cuts. The district’s customers are given a monthly “water budget” based on individual need and historic usage. If they stay within those guidelines, they incur no penalties. Like Orange, IRWD believes its water users will keep their usage well below 2013 levels, because they voluntarily beat that baseline by 19 percent in May, and 10 per-cent in June.

The East Orange County Water District, providing service to parts of North Tustin and a sliver of Orange, is also relaxing its restrictions. Customers are now permitted to water their lawns and gardens three days per week, as opposed to the previous two days. The district believes that limitation will reduce its 2013 baseline by 15 percent.

Serrano Water District did not file a conservation plan with the state. It has lifted all water usage restrictions for its customers in Villa Park and a portion of Orange, save for those mandated by the state. In addition, leaks must be fixed within 24 to 48 hours.

Golden State Water, the provider for portions of North Tustin, is seeking a voluntary 29 percent reduction from 2013 levels. Customers are asked to comply with the state mandates, and limit landscape irrigation to three days per week, before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

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