Bolinas makes exceptions in advance of rationing

07/07/2021

The Bolinas Community Public Utility District has granted water use exceptions to almost all customers who applied for them, with rationing on the horizon if the district’s overall use averages over 66,000 gallons per day. The district received 24 exception requests by its June 29 deadline, and at a special meeting last Thursday, it approved all but six. Five of those were customers with two or more water meters, and the board determined they did not need exceptions to remain under the ration amount. The board decided to ration to these customers on an aggregate basis, allowing customers to distribute the overall ration amount between their multiple meters as they see fit. “The philosophy is, if you’re meeting it between these two properties, you’re good. You’re self-rationing,” BCPUD general manager Jennifer Blackman said. Staff conducted water audits of the customers who requested exceptions, verifying the number of residents who depend on the water meter and making recommendations for limiting water use. All but three customers who requested exceptions are currently below the daily ration amount of 125 gallons per meter plus 20 gallons per resident. Most customers received exceptions because their households are made up of more than five regular residents. At one house, staff verified only five residents, and the board tentatively denied the request. Three larger households on the Big Mesa were granted exceptions, and are using much more water than what the exception would allow. “We’ll be in dialogue with those customers,” Ms. Blackman said. “They need to deal with the fact that this exception is less than what they’ve been using.” She said one of those customers had already accounted for their higher use by discovering a toilet leak. Of the 18 customers who were granted exceptions, a few applied because of their businesses, including a hotel on Brighton Avenue and a garden on Cherry Drive. The board granted an exception to the Tacherra Ranch, where more than 50 people live. The ranch uses significantly less water than its ration amount. Ms. Blackman said the district has received several verbal inquiries and a few formal requests for exceptions after the deadline passed, and the board is open to entertaining them.