Sunday, September 21, 2014

Environmental update: Start saving water now and reap benefits next year

From page A7 | May 02, 2014 |

The city of Davis is encouraging all water customers to reduce their use in an effort to lower water consumption citywide and prepare for a new consumption-based fixed rate structure.

Beginning Jan. 1, the city’s water service fees will be based on the consumption-based fixed rate structure. The CBFR structure is made up of three components — a distribution charge (based on the size of the water meter serving your property), a variable charge (a uniform rate per unit of water for all user classes) and a supply charge.

Each year, the supply charge amount is recalculated based on an individual’s actual water use during the prior six-month May-through-October peak consumption period. So for Jan. 1, 2015, the May 2014 -October 2014 water use will be used. The more water you conserve during the next six months, the lower your supply charge will be in next year’s bills. The supply charge for each property remains the same each month until the next Jan. 1 adjustment date.

Residents looking to learn more about their water use can take advantage of the city’s WaterInsight program, provided by WaterSmart Software. Personalized WaterInsight reports detail household water use, and compare it to homes of similar size, helping residents gain a clear understanding of where use reductions can be made.

Customers with questions about water conservation or the new consumption-based fixed rate structure are encouraged to visit the city’s website,, or call 530-757-5686. Customers wanting to sign up for WaterInsight can visit

Saving water now means a lower water bill all next year. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you are not wasting any water.

Outdoor water use accounts for 60 to 70 percent of all residential water use during summer months, so residents and businesses are encouraged to adjust their landscape irrigation timers.

The weather is warming up, but before you turn your irrigation back on, check for leaks! Look over your irrigation system and fix broken sprinkler heads and leaky valves. Make sure that all sprinkler heads are adjusted so they only water your plants, not the sidewalk or the driveway.

Before setting your irrigation timers, re-evaluate how much water your landscape actually needs. The Yolo County Master Gardeners have a wealth of useful tools and information on estimating landscape water needs, water-wise gardening tips and keeping lawns and trees healthy in the drought. Visit for details.

The UC Davis Arboretum also has a wealth of information about landscaping during the drought. Tips include simple suggestions like adding mulch and compost, tuning your irrigation, etc., that can make a big difference in the amount of water you use to keep your landscape healthy and beautiful. See for details.


Speaking of saving limited resources … time to start stockpiling those single-use plastic bags! Only two months remain until the city’s carryout bag ordinance goes into effect.

Starting July 1, all retail stores and restaurants in Davis will no longer distribute single-use plastic carryout bags. Customers can carry their purchases without a bag, they can bring their own bag, or choose to purchase a paper or reusable bag for a minimum of 10 cents.

The carryout bag ordinance does not regulate the plastic bags at the produce department for fruits and veggies, the bags in the bulk food aisle, or the bags at the hardware store for nails by the pound. The only bags that are regulated by the ordinance are the bags that retail and take-out food businesses give you to carry out your purchases.

If you have any further questions about the ordinance, visit and clink the link for the single-use carryout bag ordinance on the home page.


As usual, hazardous waste can be brought to the Yolo County Central Landfill for free every Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring in your paints, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, household cleaners, expired medicines (no controlled substances), etc., for free and safe disposal.

— Jennifer Gilbert is the city of Davis’ conservation coordinator. For more information, visit or email me at



Jennifer Gilbert



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