Tuesday, July 29, 2014

City launches new website to track water use

From page A1 | April 22, 2014 |

Ever wonder how your water use stacks up compared to your neighbors?

Now, davis.waterinsight.com will show you how much water you use and how that compares to your average neighbors and your most efficient neighbors. Plus, it will provide conservation tips, such as taking military-style showers where you stop the water while you soap up, using high-efficiency shower heads and filling the bathtub only one-third of the way.

The website is part of the city’s effort to educate the public about conserving water before the consumption-based rates start. Water used this summer and early fall will be figured into a base fixed rate.

The city is going to measure residents’ water use from May through October for purposes of the rate, called a supply fee.

“The more water residents conserve during the next six months, the lower their supply fee will be in next year’s bills,” the city said in a statement, adding that in addition to a website — water.cityofdavis.org — city representatives will be distributing “outreach materials” and showing up at community events and meetings to help the public understand how to save the most money.

City leaders said in a statement that outdoor water use accounts for 60 to 70 percent of all residential water use during the summer months. It advises residents to adjust their landscape irrigation timers and look for previously undetected leaks as well as using water-efficient appliances.

“It’s always important for our customers to conserve water,” said Dianna Jensen, principal civil engineer, who is the city staff member who is taking the lead on the city’s drinking water system. “But as we prepare for our new rate structure, it’s especially important that our residents conserve. The water they use this summer will impact their bills in 2015.”

The statement said city residents already meet the state-mandated 20 percent water reduction levels, but the Davis Natural Resource Commission and the City Council have supported an additional 20 percent reduction.

“And it’s not just residents joining the conservation effort,” the statement said. “The city is working toward reducing its own water use by at least 40 percent at public parks and facilities.”

A water use comparison database show that Davis residents are at the forefront of water conservation compared to residents in nearby cities. The database — found at mercurynews.com/drought/ci_25090363 — shows that Davis faucets run 202 gallons per day per capita. Woodland runs 289 gallons per day, while West Sacramento flows with 305 gallons per capita and Sacramento has 279 gallons per day.

A sore spot for Davis conservationists may be Dixon and Vacaville. They use 171 and 172 gallons per day per capita, respectively.

But lot sizes and the mix of office, industrial and residential differences between the towns complicate any absolute picture of how much residents in one city conserve compared to other towns.

Jensen has said that Davis water use triples during the summer, mostly attributable to the two-thirds of water use being related to landscaping during that period.

For questions related to water, residents can call the city at 530-757-5686.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or call 530-747-8057. 




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