Riverside, Calif. – May is Water Awareness Month, and with California’s drought conditions worsening, water providers like Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) are hoping that customers throughout their service territory take heed and learn how to reduce water use now to conserve supplies for the future.
RPU, which serves more than 64,500 metered customers in and around the City of Riverside, is water independent, getting all of its water from underground aquifers throughout the region. This allows the utility to maintain lower water rates for its customer-owners as it does not have to import more expensive water supplies from the continuingly overstressed Sacramento Delta or Colorado River.
“While we still maintain interconnections to these water sources for both our and our neighboring water supplier’s emergency preparedness plans, groundwater remains the only resource for RPU customers,” said the utility’s General Manager Girish Balachandran.
Although RPU’s groundwater resources remain abundant enough to serve their customer’s needs today (supplying a daily average of more than 62 million gallons last year, including a peak day supply in August of nearly 95.4 million gallons), without the normal storms in the local foothills and mountains that help replenish those underground supplies, they too could become overstressed and wells could literally run dry.
“That’s why it is so important for our customers to make the effort to become water aware, avoid water waste, and take advantage of programs that can help them to do that,” Balachandran said.
Just last week, Riverside’s City Council voted unanimously to continue a 1.5 percent conservation surcharge on RPU water customers’ bills that helps fund a variety of water conservation rebate programs that customers can use to reduce their water use.
“Simple steps like fixing a leaking toilet, installing low-flow sprinkler nozzles, showerheads, and faucet aerators can save thousands of gallons for one house alone,” Balachandran said. “If all of our customers did this, it could save millions of gallons annually system-wide.”
RPU’s incentive programs include rebates for replacing lawn areas with artificial turf or low-water use plants and landscaping; free low-flow sprinkler nozzles; and rebates on installing Weather Based Irrigation Controllers, high efficiency toilets and clothes washers. Program information and applications are available at GreenRiverside.com