Penalties and Allocations Are Repealed, and a New Water Loss Adjustment Policy May Help Reduce Costs Incurred from Leaks

(Montecito, California, August 23, 2017) Last Wednesday the Montecito Water District’s Board of Directors acted on several items, most notably the repeal of allocations and penalties. The District began making modifications to its drought ordinances in March, with the suspension of Ordinance 94 penalties for water use in excess of monthly customer allocations. Ordinance 94 penalties have remained suspended since that time, and the District has been closely monitoring consumption and customer responsiveness to a more voluntary conservation model.

“These changes are due largely to improved water supply conditions both locally and statewide, resulting from rainfall last winter. However, the recent actions of the Board are noteworthy in that they are made possible in part due to the District’s recent progress on planning for short and long-term supplies.” said General Manager Nick Turner. “The most important part of the equation is our customers. While we anticipate that water consumption will increase over last year, we also must rely on continued conservation practices, such as transitions to drought-resistant landscaping, conscientious irrigation, and careful monitoring to prevent water waste.”

Montecito Water District August Board Meeting Highlights

  • Adoption of Ordinance 95, which repeals drought Ordinances 92 and 94. This action eliminates monthly customer water use allocations and penalties, however continues the Water Shortage Emergency (now at Stage 2) and retains numerous water use restrictions. Ordinance 95 calls for ongoing voluntary conservation in excess of 30% compared to 2013 usage to maintain compliance with State Law--Senate Bill X7-7, which requires 20% reduction in urban water use by 2020. Ordinance 95 also continues the prohibition on issuance of new water meters, except under certain emergency circumstances.
  • Approval of a new Water Loss Adjustment Policy. This is intended to provide financial relief to customers who experience a water loss incident beyond their reasonable control, and to simplify the appeals process. Customers are encouraged to commence or continue tracking their meter reads weekly so that any unexpected usage can be discovered early, and reminded to notify the District as soon as anything unusual is detected.
  • The District is actively evaluating “Smart Meters.” New systems are being reviewed by the Operations Committee. Future implementation of “Advanced Metering Infrastructure,” more commonly known as AMI, would reduce water loss and improve efficiency. Benefits to customers include automated rather than manual meter reads, easily accessible usage data and analysis, and leak detection features.
  • Pursuit of permanent, local, reliable water supplies continues to be a priority. Montecito Water District is moving forward with analysis of alternative sources such as desalination and recycled water, as well as sustainable groundwater management, all of which will be discussed in upcoming meetings.

Archived Agendas, Packets, and complete information on all Ordinances and Policies can be found on the District web site:

Montecito Water District’s mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.