Water Shortage Tool Kit

Water Shortage Tool Kit

The nine tools included in the kit respond directly to the Council’s Fall 2014 survey of hundreds of member and non-member water utilities across the state. We asked participants to tell us what was working for them and what additional resources they wanted. The tools build upon the extensive experience of Council members. While they will be of most interest to smaller utilities that have not had a robust water savings program, there are plenty of matters that will be useful to even the most experienced water conservation coordinators.  The files have been formatted so they can be printed and placed in a 3 ring binder. Download all 9 tools (33.7MB).

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 1:  Model Water Shortage Contingency Plans

Water shortage contingency plans (WSCP) have been required as part of the water contingency analysis specified by the California Water Code 10632 since the early 1980s for urban water suppliers. Having a developed WSCP is an essential part of being prepared to respond to water shortages in a timely manner. This tool will provide an overview of WSCP development, reference resources and tools, and provide examples of WSCPs from around the state with the goal of helping agencies develop a WSCP quickly or refine an existing plan. The DWR Urban Drought Guidebook (2008) and the (2011) AWWA M60: Drought Preparedness and Response Manual are key resources for developing and implementing a WSCP. This tool will refer to these key resources, but does not seek to duplicate them.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 2:  Water Waste Ordinances and Enforcement Primer

This tool provides a survey of the water conservation ordinances that authorize local governments to discourage water waste and reduce overall demand. It is designed as a reference to assist water service providers in developing policies to meet their conservation goals. This tool contains four principal parts. The first part briefly introduces the state statutes that mandate water conservation. The second contains a summary of a broad survey of water conservation ordinances, including notable distinctions in their contents. The third section briefly summarizes trends observed in recent ordinances, points to additional resources, and notes partnership opportunities. The final part contains an appendix that details actual language from water conservation ordinances from across the state. It is not meant as a “model” ordinance. Rather, it’s more of a “cafeteria” where would-be ordinance enactors or amenders can select from a wide array of choices.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 3:  Water Shortage Pricing Primer

During prolonged water shortages, water providers may face increasing costs and declining revenues. Water shortage pricing can help send a stronger signal to customers to meet a water use reduction target while providing the utility some revenue stability. Pricing may be one of the most influential tools available to agencies to manage water and financial resources during a water shortage. Pricing is also one of the more challenging tools to implement. This tool is meant to be a primer to help agencies better understand water rates surcharges and rates setting rules. It also identifies additional resources to help local agencies develop successful water shortage rates.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 4:  Water Loss and Supply Alternatives

Real losses are the physical losses within a distribution system. While these losses vary by agency, real losses of 39 gallons per service connection per day and greater are not uncommon in California. The savings potential inherent to implementing a water loss control program can be more than the savings achieved through other programs combined. These losses represent water that the agency has already paid to obtain, store, treat and distribute. A water loss control program can include leak detection, pressure management, and improved speed and quality of leak repair.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 5:  Customer Programs and Communication

This primer identifies popular and effective water efficiency and conservation programs, and communication and outreach strategies that have been used by California water utilities to educate customers, influence water use behaviors, and realize water savings. This primer contains the following:

  • An index of water efficiency programs;
  • Strategies for how water providers can communicate with their customers;
  • Strategies for how water providers can communicate with the media; and
  • References linking examples of effective water efficiency programs and communication strategies.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 6:  Water Supply Fact Sheet

Customers who understand how their water supply gets from the source to their home or business are better able to understand water shortages and the need to reduce consumption. Surveys have shown that a majority of customers have little idea of where their water comes from, the steps necessary to make the water safe and reliable, or the limits of the supply. The water provider must repeatedly explain its supply and delivery system in clear, well illustrated messages, which can take several forms, such as: “snap shot” fact sheets, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), newsletter articles, and video presentations on YouTube.com. The downloadable Water Supply Bill Insert Template Kit offers a customizable template for water providers to adapt to their own services areas and disseminate information to their customers.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 7:  Water Use Awareness

This tool emphasizes customer water use awareness through frequent water provider meter reads or individual customer meter reads, the use of AMI/AMR web-based reporting portals, and through effective communication. See the  Bill-Insert Template section for a customizable messaging tool to increase customer water use awareness.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 8:  Water School Curriculum

A ‘Water School’ is a program designed and implemented by a local or regional water agency to educate customers on water use regulations and restrictions. Water School classes can be open to any agency customer or community member, but the classes target local water wasters. A Water School course is often offered as a means to avoid fines for water use infractions. In the same way that drivers who are cited for moving violations must take driver’s education courses, water wasters who exceed their water allotment or ignore water restrictions may be offered the opportunity to avoid a fine by attending Water School.

Water Shortage Tool Kit

Tool 9:  Water Resources Funding

This tool describes approaches to seeking and applying for water agency funding. It offers a basic action plan for procuring needed funds, a list of common funding sources that can be used as starting points to aid in the search of available funds, and a series of additional resources to guide funding proposals. Not all resources that may be used for drought-related or drought-necessitated agency actions will be identified as drought-specific funding. Consequently, the following tool outlines a funding approach and funding resources that apply to both drought times and non-drought times.