Oxnard, CA – The community’s water conservation efforts over the past year have paid off. In July 2009, Calleguas Municipal Water District (Calleguas), one of the City’s imported water suppliers, required Oxnard, in conjunction with the Port Hueneme Water Agency (PHWA), to reduce its water consumption by 13% or pay up to $5 million in penalty charges. Residents and business owners stepped up to the challenge, keeping the City’s water use below the allocation target and avoiding the penalties. Overall, the City and PHWA have kept their water use 15.4% under the target set by Calleguas.
The City is urging residents and business owners to keep up the good work. Despite periodic rainstorms this winter and spring, the City’s water conservation ordinance remains in effect and will continue to be enforced throughout the summer. “Water waste patrols” will continue, as they proved to be a successful enforcement mechanism last summer. During a patrol, Water Resources Division staff drive City streets looking for water waste and make efforts to inform the property owner about the ordinance in a friendly and informative manner.
The ordinance permanently prohibits several forms of water waste including excessive irrigation that runs off or pools on hard surfaces, washing a vehicle or boat without an automatic shut-off nozzle attached to the hose, and washing down hard surfaces (driveways, sidewalks, patios) or the exterior of buildings. In addition, the ordinance prohibits irrigating when it is raining, irrigating for longer than 15 minutes per day, and irrigating between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The ordinance also requires leaks to be fixed within 72 hours of discovery.
In addition, the water conservation ordinance has several requirements aimed at reducing water waste in the commercial sector. Restaurants may only serve water upon customer request and must replace any inefficient dishwashing nozzles with efficient pre-rinse spray valves by June 2010. Hotels and motels must use signage to encourage their customers to conserve water, including the option to not launder their towels and linens on a daily basis. The City’s Water Resources Division has programs in place to assist local businesses in complying with the ordinance. Hotel and restaurant owners can obtain free signage and pre-rinse spray valves by calling the water conservation program at (805) 385-8136.
Approximately 50% of the City’s water supply originates in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Bay Delta (Delta) in northern California and is pumped south via the State Water Project. Pumping restrictions designed to protect endangered fish species in the Delta continue to reduce the amount of water available to Oxnard and other southern California cities despite significant rain and snowfall this year.
Water conservation goes far beyond just complying with the water conservation ordinance; there are many water using fixtures that can be upgraded in our homes and many simple behaviors that can be changed. Those looking for additional ways to conserve water can contact the Call Center at (805) 385-8136 to request water saving devices and advice from water conservation staff. The hotline can also be used to report water waste in violation of the ordinance.