Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Possible changes to Ontario's watering regulations?

You will recall that I previously shared the new watering regulations for the City of Ontario. These limit watering to two specified days per week.

Last week, I saw a Facebook post that claimed that the city had changed the watering schedule to three days per week. However, the claim was not from a city official, and I could find no such claim on the city's website.

So I started asking around, and the City of Ontario Twitter account responded as follows.

So that's that. Except...

Now I could be really cool and trendy and journalistic and claim that I HAVE SOURCES. However, the truth of the matter is that I received other information from multiple sources, in a form that was probably not intended for public dissemination. So rather than cite the sources of my information, I'll play it safe and say that I HAVE SOURCES.

Man, I feel like I'm in Deep Throat. (The columnists who talked to Mark Felt, not the doctor who talked to Linda Lovelace.)

And what are MY SOURCES telling me?

The most important thing at the moment is that the statement from the city's Twitter account is correct - as of now, watering is limited to two days a week.

But that may be changed. For one, there is not necessarily any connection between a goal to reduce water consumption by 24%, and an ordinance limiting watering to two days a week. For example, if you had been watering seven days a week and cut to five days a week without changing the watering time, you would save over 24%. If you cut from seven to two days a week, you would save much more than 24%.

Another thing to consider - Ontario, like Riverside, does not depend upon outside sources for its water. As the city website notes:

The City of Ontario serves 13 billion gallons of water annually to the City’s 170,000-plus residents and 6,000-plus businesses through the operation and maintenance of 24 active groundwater wells, 572 miles of potable and recycled water pipelines, and 12 water reservoirs that store 75 million gallons of water. Approximately 80% of Ontario’s drinking water comes from local groundwater sources, including 17% of the total supply from two water treatment plants operated by the Chino Basin Desalter Authority (CDA). The remaining 20% of Ontario’s water is imported surface water supplied through the State Water Project and treated at the Agua de Lejos Treatment Plant, before it is delivered to the City for use.

Recycled water is provided for non-potable uses, such as outdoor irrigation and some industrial applications. During the past five years, more than 200 recycled water service connections have been completed, supplying nearly 10% of Ontario's total water demand.

So in essence, not only is Ontario doing its bit for recycling, but it is also not all that dependent upon outside water sources like some other cities.

So technically Ontario could raise the same type of stink that Riverside is raising over the imposition of water rationing, but...um...MY SOURCES indicate that this is unlikely. For one thing, it doesn't matter. Since 2014, the state water restrictions have been written in a "starting today" mode, not in a way to reward communities for past conservation efforts. So while Riverside may loudly proclaim that "it's unfair", it sounds like Ontario will get with the program.

We'll see what officially happens. For now, my sprinklers are still on the two day per week schedule.

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