Both Encinitas water districts miss conservation targets


The two water districts that serve Encinitas both missed their monthly conservation targets in October.

Residents in the Olivenhain Municipal Water District cut back 24.9 percent, below the agency’s 32 percent goal. San Dieguito Water District customers saved 22.1 percent, falling short of its 28 percent requirement, according to a report the State Water Resources Control Board released Dec. 1.

Water use was compared with the benchmark year of 2013.

To entice savings, the local water districts have done everything from increasing recycled water infrastructure to stepping up enforcement for drought restrictions, including the prohibition on watering more than two days a week.

The Olivenhain district even partnered with Cal State San Marcos on a psychology study in which door hangers with five different conservation messages were handed out to 11,000 customers. Then, water use was later tracked at these homes.

A door hanger showing community examples of conservation — and also requesting a signed pledge to conserve — resulted in the most water savings.

The Encinitas water districts were among the nine agencies in San Diego County that failed to meet their goal. Overall, Californians slashed use 22.2 percent in October, despite Gov. Jerry Brown mandating a 25 percent reduction. Still, given big cuts this summer, the state’s cumulative savings are at 27.1 percent.

California’s conservation mandate, which began in June in response to the nasty drought, will be in place until at least February. State water officials next week will discuss extending it.

From June to October, the San Dieguito district has saved 22.3 percent. The Olivenhain district’s cumulative cut during this time span: 31.5 percent.

Water districts that fall below their targets are subject to fines.