Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink...
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
by: James Lawson, California Strategies

Section: Government Affairs

The Governor has mandated a statewide water reduction of 25%.  What does that mean for San Diego and for commercial property?
In response to California’s continued drought conditions, and a historically anemic Sierra Nevada snowpack, Governor Jerry Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 (http://gov.ca.gov/docs/4.1.15_Executive_Order.pdf) on April 1, 2015 calling for a 25% statewide reduction in potable urban water use. 
To meet this goal, after significant back and forth between State and City of San Diego officials, it’s anticipated the City of San Diego will have to reduce its consumption by 16% using the 2013 water year as the baseline. 
The target in other water districts serving areas outside the City of San Diego varies greatly depending on the jurisdiction.  You can find the current proposed reduction targets here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/emergency_regulations/draft_usage_tiers.pdf
San Diego’s target – 16% as compared to the statewide average of 25% - target is due in part to conservation efforts over the last several years and a strong commitment to developing alternative sources of water like desalination and reclaimed water. 
In order to help achieve these new conservation mandates, Mayor Kevin Faulconer is calling on all residents and businesses to identify water saving measures.  The following link will take you to the Mayor’s press release asking for the public’s support: http://www.sandiego.gov/mayor/news/releases/20150408_GovernorExecutiveDroughtActions.shtml
In summary, the Mayor is asking for:
  • The Public Utilities Department to strengthen enforcement of water waste regulations.  It’s anticipated this will result in the establishment of mandatory reduction measures for commercial and residential properties and institution of monetary fines for non-compliance. 
  • A review of options to reduce water usage at public parks, noting that parks will be getting “brown” as the City cuts municipal potable water usage.
  • Restarting a turf replacement rebate program for residents to encourage investment in drought tolerant landscaping, adding $200,000 immediately and another $250,000 for next year’s budget.  NOTE***because of the immediate response, the initial funding for this program has already been exhausted.  BOMA is encouraging the Mayor to identify additional emergency funds.
The timeline for development and implementation of these mandates follows:
  • April 1 – Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15
  • May 5 – Anticipated date for State Water Regional Quality Control Board to codify reduction targets, including 16% for City of San Diego
  • July 1 – Anticipated implementation date for City of San Diego reduction measures
Impact to commercial properties
Many BOMA members have implemented drastic water reduction measures dating back to 2007.  Despite those efforts, commercial properties should anticipate reducing consumption by an additional 16%.  Outdoor irrigation will be the City’s first target and ornamental fountains that are not using reclaimed water should be turned off immediately.  BOMA will continue to update the membership over the next 60 days as more detailed guidelines and measures are developed.
Available resources
There are several rebate and incentive programs available to commercial property owners.  Property managers and landscape professionals should look into every option, as multiple rebates may apply to individual properties.
How can you help?
BOMA is educating the Mayor’s office and the City’s Public Utilities Department on water reduction measures and best management practices already implemented by BOMA members. 
If your property has reduced water consumption in recent years please provide your reduction strategies and quantified savings to Craig Benedetto at craigb@calstrat.com and James Lawson at jlawson@calstrat.com.

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