Cal Water may extend Stage 2 water restrictions in Visalia

Utility company has asked the California Public Utilities Commission to allow enforcement of Stage 2 water restrictions beginning Dec. 14

VISALIA– California Water Service, which provides water to 147,000 residents living in and around the city of Visalia, is asking the state’s utility regulatory agency for permission to enforce more stringent water restrictions as the drought deepens and groundwater subsides.

On Oct. 20, the water utility company filed Advice Letter 2426 with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to move to Stage 2 of water restrictions in six of its districts, including Visalia, “in light of worsening drought conditions.” California Water Service said it has been preparing the “Water Shortage Contingency Plan” since the historic drought of 2012-2016.

“Water budgets are NOT being implemented at this time,” California Water Service (Cal Water) wrote in a released statement.

Visalia is already operating under Stage 2 (Water Alert) conservation measures implemented by the Visalia City Council on March 1, 2021. The city’s self-imposed restrictions were effective through the end of this month but would be automatically extended if the CPUC approves Cal Water’s request to begin Stage 2 in the six districts beginning on Dec. 14, 2021.

City staff said Visalia has experienced below average rainfall nine out of the last 11 years, and the groundwater table the city relies on for its water supply remains critically low, measuring 30 feet lower than in 2010. Other Cal Water districts subject to the new Stage 2 restrictions are Bakersfield and Kern River Valley, as well as Livermore, Los Altos and Redwood Valley in the Bay Area.

In order to help customers comply with the new conservation measures, Cal Water is hosting public meetings to help water users understand the new rules.

Regarding the new notice, CalWater is hosting a public meeting to help customers understand and comply with these new restrictions. The meeting will educate customers on Stage 2 of Cal Water’s Schedule 14.1, water-use restrictions, and a range of conservation programs and tools available to assist customers. The Visalia district meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at ImagineU Children’s Museum, 210 N. Tipton Street, Visalia, CA 93292.

“We also want customers to know that we are here to help them reduce their water use as we face increasingly serious drought conditions,” the notice stated. “As part of our promise to provide customers quality, service, and value, we offer a variety of conservation programs and encourage them to take advantage of these resources to help save water every day.”

At the meetings, Cal Water representatives will provide details about new irrigation restrictions as part of Stage 2 and discuss current prohibited uses of water. Some of the restrictions include:

  • Outdoor landscape irrigation is limited to two days per week between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., unless local ordinances state otherwise.
  • All leaks, breaks, or other malfunctions in a customer’s plumbing fixtures and/or irrigation system must be repaired within five business days of written notification by Cal Water.
  • Vehicles may only be washed with a hose that has a shutoff nozzle or similar device.
  • Water may not be used on driveways or sidewalks, unless for health and safety purposes.
  • No watering of outdoor landscapes may occur during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Restaurants may only serve water upon request, and hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily.

Customers can direct questions to Cal Water at 559-624-1600 or [email protected]. More information is also available online at Customers who would like to provide comments on this plan directly to the CPUC can write within 20 days of this notice to: California Public Utilities Commission; Attn: Program Manager, Water and Sewer Advisory Branch; Water Utilities Division, Room 3106; 505 Van Ness Ave., 3rd Floor; San Francisco, CA 94102. Please reference California Water Service Advice Letter No. 2426. Pub: Nov. 3, 2021 #0004982500.

At the meetings, representatives will also provide details about Cal Water’s industry-leading conservation programs to help save water every day, including:

  • Lawn-to-garden rebate of $3 per square foot of lawn removed and replaced with low-water use landscaping
  • Spray-to-drip rebate of $0.50 per square foot of landscaping converted from standard spray irrigation to a drip system
  • Rebates on high-efficiency appliances and devices, with certain rebates recently doubled
  • A free smart landscape tune-up program that includes an irrigation system evaluation along with installation of efficient devices and repair of most irrigation leaks
  • A free conservation kit that includes a garden hose nozzle with shutoff valve, high-efficiency showerheads, faucet aerators, and more for residential customers

California Water Service Company (Cal Water) has provided service to Visalia residents since 1926. Cal Water’s Visalia District serves about 147,000 people through 46,700 service connections.

Water levels have declined over the years. The 2020 Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District groundwater report said average comparable depth to groundwater was approximately 143.3 feet in fall 2020, which reflected a groundwater level decline of 10.6 feet from the prior year. In the mid-1980s, Visalia groundwater levels were just 50 feet after several wet years.

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