Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2016 - 38
the drought stages. A trigger could be
defined as reservoir or groundwater well
levels dropping a number of feet within
a certain time period or to a specific
* Water Use Reduction Goals. Reduction
goals can be expressed as percentage
reductions from "normal" use or as
reductions of a specific quantity in acrefeet or million gallons per day (MGD).
o Have a clear understanding of what
"normal" use is and update this
definition at least every five years.
o Monitor water use frequently to see
if reduction goals are being met and
adjust the plan as necessary. You may
want to read meters of key customers
or large water users more frequently
to track their usage and ability to meet
reduction goals during the drought.
* Water Use Restrictions. Restrictions
are often designed to first reduce or
eliminate nonessential uses such as
outdoor watering, followed by more
severe restrictions, as necessary.
o Some utilities establish a per-person
or per-household allocation (gallons
per month), allowing customers to
determine how they want to reduce
their use to meet the allocation.
Consider adding customer variance
or appeal provisions for special
o Understand what your utility
can achieve from certain water
restrictions. If outdoor water use
has gone down over the last decade,
the potential savings from outdoor
water use restrictions will need to be
reduced from previous projections.
o There is usually a time lag of a few
months from when mandatory
restrictions are announced and when
customers actually reduce their
water use. Factor this into your plan.
* Enforcement Provisions. Drought
restrictions can be enforced
through educational warnings, code
enforcement citations, police tickets,
fines, fees, surcharges and water
o Verify enforcement procedures with
legal staff, as some states may have
statutory limits on allowed methods.
After the drought
* Revise your drought response
plan based on lessons learned,
considering the following:
o Did the drought stages, triggers
and demand reduction measures
achieve the anticipated results?
o Were the demand reduction
measures too prescriptive, or
did they not provide enough
direction to customers?
* Incorporate drought resilience plans
or projects into multiyear capital
improvement plans and budgets.
* Conduct a debriefing with utility
staff and partners shortly after
the drought to discuss the
effectiveness of and improvements
to response activities. ●
Information in this article was
provided by the EPA Drought
Response and Recovery Guide.
For more information, go to https://
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