Central Coast cities conserve water beyond state rationing mandates in June

Jul 30, 2015

Water conservation numbers are in for June., the first month covered under Governor Jerry Brown's statewide rationing mandate—and Central Coast locations either met or exceeded target rates.

Pismo Beach met the state's water reduction mandates for June, but still has a high per capita usage rate. City leaders say that's because of the disproportionately large number of hotel rooms.
Credit Flickr member James Bachleda

Leading the pack is the San Luis Obispo County coastal town of Cambria which cut water usage by nearly 44.8 percent, according to the latest state figures. That's significantly above the 8 percent required.

The Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) has strict water usage limits in place. Last year it was facing the possibility of running out of water prior to the start of the rainy season. The CCSD quickly built a water treatment facility to help recharge the local groundwater supply, the town's only water source.

Santa Barbara and Lompoc also reduced usage far beyond the state's expectations (40.7 and 32.9 percent respectively). While the Cities of Morro Bay and Pismo Beach met the mandate, but just barely.

Pismo's per-capita daily consumption is twice that of many Central Coast cities. As a comparison, water customers in the City of Santa Barbara used 94 gallons per capita, per day in June. Pismo customers used 216.

Ben Fine runs the conservation program in Pismo Beach and says his city has a unique situation when it comes to water usage.

"You may look at our per capita and say, 'okay, you only have 7500 people, why are you using so much water?'" said Fine. "We have a ton of hotel rooms and with our occupancy going up double digits, we still managed to bring our reduction down by 24.6 percent."

One big move Pismo Beach is making to get a handle on the per capita usage numbers is to ban traditional urinals. The city council voted earlier this month to make the new waterless versions the city's new normal. 

Fine said city leaders also check in with other Central Coast communities to see what they're doing to help with conservation efforts. 

As a whole, the Central Coast cut usage by nearly 30 percent, more than two percentage points better than the statewide numbers.

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