Stinson considers water rationing

02/13/2014

This Saturday the Stinson Beach County Water District will consider mandatory water rationing for the district’s 720 residential connections, as well as a resolution that would impose rationing on commercial users. Ed Schmidt, the district manager,  said they will likely postpone action for another month so the board can evaluate how the recent deluge impacted their water sources. The average residential connection uses 150 gallons of water a day, but the proposed rationing would cut that about 27 percent, to 110 gallons. Though the district has worked with heavy consumers to curtail use, there are still around 20, some of whom are using 500 or more gallons a day. The district, which has no reservoirs and draws the majority of its water from wells, implemented a first-stage conservation alert in September 2012; a second-stage alert went into effect last April. But despite conservation, the district says its supplies are not sufficient to provide typical demand; in fact, usage has increased about 20 percent since the most recent alert because of drought conditions and warm weather, which both spurred increases in irrigation and drew larger numbers of visitors than usual for this time of year. Mr. Schmidt said the district decided to take action when they could see they were drawing more from the wells than groundwater was replenishing. The previous alerts have not included commercial users; Mr. Schmidt said they focused on residential use, since businesses comprise only about 6 or 7 percent of total water use. If the residential rationing is passed, customers would be warned if their monthly use exceeds an average of 110 gallons a day, with subsequent notices imposing fines and, if the violation persists, a termination of service. A typical 10-minute shower uses 20 gallons, a load of laundry in an older machine could use 40 gallons (newer ones might use 25 or less) and most flushes of the toilet use from 2 to 4 gallons.