Minutes from April 14, 2015-Celeste Cantu, General Manager, Santa Ana Watershed Project

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Open Board of Directors Meeting

San Bernardino Community College District

114 S. Del Rosa Drive

San Bernardino, CA   92408



Present: Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Rachelle Bussell, Matthew Buck, Scott Davis, Carrie Gilbreath, Scott Hofferber, Matthew Isaac, Jay Jimenez, Erik Johnson, Mark Kaenel, Pam Langford, Ed Lasak, Temetry Lindsay, Sue McKee, John Mirau, Bev Powell, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Wendy Strack,  Phil Waller, Janet Weder and Ray Wolfe.


Announcements1) The second announcement was made of potential member Bogh Engineering.  The membership will vote next week.  2)  The City of Fontana will hold a City Council meeting at 7p.m.  Express lanes will be discussed.  Attendance of an Inland Action member was requested to attend to speak to the project and to clarify issues and misconceptions.  A Facebook page in opposition against the Express Lanes in the IE has been created.  3)  A dinner is planned on April 21st at 6p.m. with the Chair of the California Energy Commission.  If you would like to attend please contact Carole Beswick.


Inland Empire resident Stephen Stockton has applied for the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board.  His resume and experience with water agencies was discussed.

M/S/P:  Support the appointment of Stephen Stockton to the State Board-Santa Ana Regional Water Control Board.


M/S/P:  Minutes from April 7, 2015.


Phil Waller introduced Celeste Cantu, General Manager, Santa Ana Watershed Project.


It is a dynamic time for our state that will include a culture change in how consumers use and conserve water.   California is in its 4th year of drought and although we have a diverse portfolio of resources all are under stress.  Since the unsuccessful 20% voluntary reduction request in January 2014, the Governor has now mandated water agencies to achieve a 25% reduction state wide compared to 2013 levels.


The Order directs the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) to develop, impose and enforce the mandatory water reduction measures against the more than 3,000 urban water suppliers throughout California. The State Water Board is expected to impose the new restrictions by mid-May 2015, establishing a different target for each agency based upon the relative per capita water usage for each agency’s service area and the agency’s conservation progress since 2013.  The Order also includes the following new measures: A program requiring all newly constructed homes and buildings must use drip irrigation or microspray systems for landscape irrigation;

A program to replace 50 million square feet of residential lawns statewide with drought-tolerant plants, equal to more than 800 football fields;

A statewide consumer rebate program to subsidize installation of water efficient appliances, such as toilets and washing machines;

A ban on watering ornamental lawns on public street medians with potable water; and

Financial assistance for families forced to find new housing because they have run out of potable water.


Studies have shown that one of the most cost effective and efficient methods for dealing with tight water supplies is through increased water use efficiency. This is reflected through a reduced per capita water use as well as potentially reduced commercial and industrial water use.


The new order mostly focuses on cities and towns. In an effort to increase enforcement, water agencies will be required to adjust their rate structure with conservation pricing to discourage waste.


Although the largest water user, agriculture has not been mandated to reduce usage.  According to Governor Brown, surface water allocations for agricultural water agencies have already been significantly reduced and many farmers supplied by water from the federal Central Valley Project have been told they will receive no water this year. Because of these significant cutbacks to agricultural water users, the Order’s mandatory restrictions were not extended to agricultural water suppliers.


In Southern California, 60% to 80% of all drinking water is used on residential landscapes and about half of that is not needed; it is wasted and runs off our yards collecting contaminants such as pet waste, fertilizer, until it runs into a river or the beach with a toxic slug of pollution.  So first we need to be better irrigators.  In the Santa Ana River Watershed 60% to 70% of all water is used on landscape and about half of that is not needed.  We are learning how to be better irrigators of our landscape and save approximately 30% of our water currently used and soon we need to learn how to be better landscapers and will plant drought tolerant plants and save another 15%.  Eventually that will be a 45% savings overall.  Most people put 100 inches of water a year on their grass regardless if it needs it or not.  Grass really only needs about half of that.


Desalination has been used thru out the Inland Empire since the early 1970’s.  This successful program continues on ground water which has approx. 7,000 parts per million.  Desalination of ocean water is different as there are 38,000 parts per million making it much more difficult and costly.


The water districts are working together with their wastewater and stormwater colleagues like never before.  They are developing synergies and efficiencies using 21st century technologies and practices that will go far to accommodate the population growth anticipated. They are working to create a Water Ethic: Everyone knows where their water comes from, how much they use and what they put into it and where it goes after it is used.


We all must make conservation a part of our daily lives. Water is precious, limited, and essential. As we proceed into the 21st century it will become even more so.


A Q & A period followed.


Meeting adjourned at 8:30a.m.