Pine Cove Water District will move to Stage 2 water conservation on June 1, announced General Manager Jerry Holldber. PCWD has been in Stage 1 since April 2014.

At the May 13 meeting, Holldber told the directors of his decision to lift restrictions from volunteer conservation to tightened mandatory actions. However, he did recommend that the board approve retaining the Stage 1 water rates rather than the higher Stage 2 rates.

The board unanimously approved his recommendation, which will save customers some money.

“A year ago, we declared Water Emergency Stage 1. Since that time, we’ve relied on voluntary compliance,” Holldber began his statement to the directors. “It’s prudent management to go to Stage 2, especially planning for the long duration of the drought.

“Since then, a lot has been going on with the state. It’s to the point that the governor has state mandatory restrictions on,” he stated.

Increasing the water conservation stage is prudent management during the drought and indicates that PCWD is following the State Water Resources Control Board’s guidelines, Holldber added.

The recommendation to continue to apply Stage 1 water rates was discussed with the district’s legal counsel, who supported it. Holldber told the board, “I don’t feel it’s fair to penalize customers now. We’ve just raised rates, and I thought it was the fair and proper thing to do for Pine Covers.”

The average PCWD customer uses 6,000 gallons or less for every bimonthly billing period. During Stage 1, the bimonthly bill would be $67.80, which includes the $57 advance minimum and $10.80 for using 6,000 gallons of water. The Stage 2 water usage rate remains $1.80 per 1,000 gallons up to 5,000. An additional 1,000 gallons would cost $3.10, another $1.30.

For customers who consume more than 6,000 gallons and less than 12,000 gallons, the Stage 2 rates would increase the cost of the 2,000 beyond 10,000 to $4.40 per 1,000. The total usage charge for 12,000 gallons would be $33.30 compared to $29.40, which is 13.3 percent more under Stage 2 rates.

Holldber will monitor water usage over the next few months to verify that the mandatory restrictions are reducing consumption. Those results, if unsuccessful, may cause him to recommend imposition of the higher Stage 2 water rates.

“We’ll go the summer and report back on the conservation usage,” he said. “We’re putting [saving water] back on the people.”

Water use rules in Pine Cove Water District

Stage 1 is voluntary compliance
Customers are asked to conserve, when possible, the amount of water used to that amount necessary for domestic and business purposes. Fix leaky plumbing, prevent irrigation runoff, refrain from washing down sidewalks, driveways and parking areas and avoid sprinkling unplanted areas for dust control. Customers are encouraged to utilize wood chips and mulch around all plants and trees to minimize outside watering.

Stage 2 is mandatory compliance 
Customers are required to limit irrigation of outdoor plants and gardens to the period between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily and stop all water runoff. Customers cannot fill or refill swimming pools except the small amount needed to replace evaporation in already filled pools. Vehicles can only be washed using a bucket and a hose with a shut-off nozzle. Immediate repairs must be made to any and all leaking water lines and faucets in household plumbing and yard piping. Customers must also cease watering native vegetation and unplanted areas for dust control. Restaurants shall only provide drinking water to patrons upon specific request.