The Palmdale Water District (PWD) Board of Directors has voted to adopt mandatory rules that include limits on outdoor watering days and times beginning May 1 and increasing the water conservation target to 20 percent.

The “Mandatory Stage 2 of the 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan” (WSCP) will require PWD customers to only water their landscapes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. Violators will receive warnings. After that, fines will begin at $50.

As part of the mandatory phase starting June 1, the outdoor usage tier (Tier 2) water allocation for single-family, multi-family, and irrigation accounts will be reduced by 20 percent. A drought surcharge of 40 cents per unit (one unit is equal to 748 gallons of water) will be applied to the higher, non-essential usage tiers (Tiers 3-5). 

In other words, the cost of water for customers whose water use stays within Tier 1 and the reduced Tier 2 will stay the same. The drought surcharge will only affect customers who use more than the reduced Tier 2 water allocation.

“We’ve been hoping the rain we had would be enough, but it hasn’t worked out that way,” said PWD Board President Gloria Dizmang. “We must face the reality that we are running out of water, and we must try and save every drop we can. We are out of options. We must conserve.”

One year ago this month, PWD began its public campaign asking customers to reduce their water use by 15 percent compared to the year 2020. Last August, the Board adopted the “Voluntary Stage 2 of the 2020 WSCP,” calling for voluntary water use cutbacks. 

Water production for 2021 (the amount needed to meet demand) ended at 0.8 percent higher than 2020. The water shortage situation has become more dire this year as the state experiences a third straight dry winter and spring. PWD’s water allocation from the State Water Project has dropped to 5 percent.

“Early analysis of our available water supply shows that we need to conserve 3,000 acre-feet to meet our water demands for the remainder of the year” said PWD Resource and Analytics Director Peter Thompson, Jr. 

“If we all conserve 20 percent from 2020 usage, we expect that we will have enough water,” he added. “We need every single one of our 126,000 customers to use water wisely.”

One acre-foot of water is equal to 326,000 gallons of water. A family of four uses an average of 190,000 gallons of water annually.

For more information, visit www.palmdalewater.org.

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