California water district adopts water banking strategy
The Yucaipa Valley, Calif., Water District (YVWD) will begin “water banking,” which involves purchasing additional water to store underground in reserve against times of drought. However, the plan will come at a cost to users and developers.
Starting Nov. 1, the district will add a 15 percent surcharge — about $2.50 a month for typical homeowners — onto bills for its residential and business customers, to help fund the purchase of surplus water from the State Water Project. Also, developers will be required to purchase seven acre feet of water from the program for each home they plan to build, or they may not be allowed to build at times when the district restricts water use by 20 percent or more. Developers can buy 15.7 acre feet of water per house to achieve “Crystal Status,” which would allow them to build even when water restrictions are in place.
Despite the cost, YVWD General Manager Joseph Zoba said in a statement that water banking is a “prudent move.” “It will not only help us protect our customers from future water shortages, but give us the ability to replenish our local groundwater basins, which have been drawn down through many years of pumping beyond natural recharge rates,” he said.
More information on YVMD is available at http://www.yvwd.dst.ca.us/.