Riverside, Calif. – In response to the call for increased conservation by the State Water Resources Control Board and the Governor’s office, Riverside’s City Council has voted to activate mandatory water conservation restrictions for Riverside Public Utilities’ (RPU) water customers starting August 1.
“California is faced with continued, and increasingly serious, drought conditions,” said Riverside’s Mayor Rusty Bailey, “and we are all obligated to take steps now that will help conserve our valuable water supplies.”
The council made changes to existing water supply planning and management documents in order to modify current municipal code on water conservation and meet the state’s emergency requests for mandatory water reduction measures, especially those limiting outdoor watering. Riverside’s multi-stage plan sets the guidelines RPU customers must meet to reduce water use citywide.
“The mandatory steps we are asking our customers to take aren’t much different from what we’d ask them to do voluntarily,” said RPU General Manager Girish Balachandran. “That includes identifying outdoor water waste and taking aggressive steps to eliminate it,” Balachandran said. “Together, our efforts can make a big difference both locally, and statewide.” By taking part in voluntary conservation programs over the past year, RPU customers were able to save more than 782.4 million gallons, enough water to meet the annual demands of about 4,800 households.
However, RPU customers will now have to take on additional steps to ensure Riverside can meet the new state-mandated conservation goals. Those steps will include: no water waste through run off; no irrigation between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.; the application of water to streets and sidewalks is prohibited; and washing of autos, trucks, boats, etc. during the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only with a hand-held bucket and a hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle.
To assist customers in cutting back, RPU will continue to fund all of its residential and commercial water conservation rebate and incentive programs, which help offset the costs of being water wise. Rebates are available to install high efficiency toilets and clothes washers inside, and Weather Based Irrigation Controllers and high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles outside.
The utility will also continue to fund its popular Artificial Turf and Waterwise Landscaping programs, and have even increased the incentives and total rebate amounts to encourage more customers to participate in these popular outdoor water conservation programs that remove thirsty lawn areas.
Changes to the utility’s Residential Waterwise Landscaping turf removal program include: incentive increases to $2.00 per square foot of turf removed or up to 100% of the projects cost, whichever is lower; and there is no minimum project size restriction. The Commercial program incentives have been increased to $3.00 per sq. ft. of turf removed or 100% of project cost, whichever is lower. All program changes are contingent upon continued funding by the Metropolitan Water District and may revert back to previous levels.
Meanwhile, RPU’s residential Artificial Turf installation incentives have increased to $2.00 per square foot, up to 2,000 sq. ft. for a maximum rebate of $4,000 to replace lawn areas with artificial turf.
Complete details on the mandatory water conservation restrictions for Riverside Public Utilities’ customers, as well as information on all available residential and commercial water reduction rebate programs, can be viewed at www.BlueRiverside.com or by contacting the city’s 311 call center.