By Daniel Langhorne | NB Indy
Newport Beach water users serviced by the city’s Municipal Operations Department started 2016 by once again missing the state’s mandated water use reduction target.
Newport’s water users haven’t hit the 28 percent reduction target since June, saving 1.8 percent more water in January than they did in December.
The city issued 95 warnings and 251 citations to customers in January, compared to 20 warnings and 164 citations in December. The penalties ranged from $100 to $500, according to George Murdoch, utilities general manager for Newport Beach.
“Everything we’ve done for education and outreach to reach our goal can only help us,” he said.
The State Water Resources Control Board on Feb 2. extended its emergency conservation regulation through October. This gives Newport Beach more time to increase the amount of water it’s saving per month in order to bring its cumulative savings since June to 28 percent of its normal usage.
Murdoch said the city might see some relief on state-imposed penalties, which fine an agency $500 per day, because of updated standards in the state’s emergency regulation.
Credits are available to local water supplier like Newport Beach and could reduce its mandated cuts by 2 to 8 percent. The exact amount is determined by the climate conditions effecting different parts of the state, reflect growing water efficiency in urban areas and recognize investment in local sources of drought-resilient potable water.
“I’m not pleased that the drought has been extended, but I am pleased that the water board has considered water credits for local conditions and use of local water supply,” Murdoch said.
The City Council is slated to get an update on the city’s water use reduction efforts at its Feb. 23 meeting.