July 1, 2003

Conservation Program in Pioneertown

From County of San Bernardino Special Districts Web site:

The Low Desert Water District, CSA 70 W-4 also known as Pioneertown, has experienced water quantity problems throughout its history. The past few years have been symptomatic of the drought conditions that have been experienced across the County of San Bernardino and the Western United States. The severe drought has diminished the potable water supplies and continues to be a challenging situation for the Division and the customers of Pioneertown.

In August 1996, a drought situation occurred that reduced potable water supplies to dangerously low levels. During that event, the Division enacted the Stage III Drought/Emergency Condition Severe, enabled by an ordinance adopted by resolution 90-493 of the Board of Supervisors for the County of San Bernardino. This resolution and conservation ordinance 90-11 was communicated to the people living in Pioneertown by personal visits to each residence and business in the community. The resulting affect was a dramatic turnaround in the supply of potable water in the storage reservoirs that serve Pioneertown. When the situation was communicated to the people of Pioneertown they responded by reducing their water consumption by 25-30%.

During the summer of 2002, a similar set of events began to affect the potable water supply in Pioneertown. The Division recognized these events and drafted a conservation notice packet that included the ordinances 90-493 and 90-11, and a brochure with water saving tips. The notice explained the situation and the stage of the Drought/Emergency Condition, Stage III Severe, which again resulted in the customers reducing their water consumption and avoiding further actions by the Division.

In May of 2003, the Division again recognized trends that would indicate the affects of the drought and the effect it would have on Pioneertown. Another notice was developed, which included the 2 ordinances, 90-493 and 90-11, along with a Water Conservation Checklist adapted from the California Department of Water Resources Office of Water Conservation’s “The Water Conservation Checklist”. An analysis of the water consumption by the customers was performed and high users of water were identified. These high users included accounts that had exceeded their usage from the previous year’s billing period and accounts that are in the 95th percentile of consumption, which is between 25 and 33.45 hundred cubic feet (hcf).

The Division again went door-to-door handing out packets and answering questions in an effort to help the customers reduce their water consumption. The customers identified as high users were personally contacted, offered assistance in reducing their water consumption, and given a special message, which included a mandated reduction of 25-30% of their water consumption.