Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

RMWD amends Water Shortage Contingency Plan

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Rainbow Municipal Water District amended its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

A 4-0 Rainbow board vote July 26, with Michael Mack absent, adopted an ordinance amending the district’s 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan and an ordinance updating Rainbow’s drought ordnance to reflect changes in the plan.

Rainbow prepared a Water Shortage Contingency Plan along with the district’s 2020 Urban Water Management Plan. The plans were submitted to the state Department of Water Resources. Rainbow staff also prepared a draft updated drought ordinance, but staff and the board agreed that the board would not take action on that ordinance until the other plans were accepted by DWR in case there were any significant changes to the Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

DWR completed its review of the plans in early 2022. One minor comment on the Urban Water Management Plan resulted in a correction, and the plan was deemed complete. However, Rainbow staff also reviewed the water shortage levels presented in the 2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Prior to the amendments the Level 2 actions included limiting residential and commercial landscape irrigation to no more than two assigned days per week on a schedule established by Rainbow’s general manager and posted by the district. “In our area, two days a week isn’t going to cut it,” said Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy.

The amended ordinance moves the twice-a-week irrigation restriction from Level 2 to Level 3. Rainbow expects an additional 108 acre-feet of consumption per year under Level 2 conditions.

Level 2 also previously included limiting lawn watering and landscape irrigation using sprinklers to no more than 10 minutes per watering station per assigned day. That was also moved to Level 3, and no additional usage under Level 2 is anticipated.

The previous policy had Level 3 as the trigger that the district would not provide any new potable water service, temporary or permanent meters, or statements such as “will serve” letters that the district has the immediate ability to provide potable water service (exceptions can be made if a valid and unexpired building permit has already been issued, if the Rainbow board determines that the project is necessary to protect public health and safety, or if the applicant provides to the satisfaction of the district substantial evidence of an enforceable binding commitment that water demands for the project will be offset prior to the provision of any new water meters). That restriction was moved to Level 4 with the amendments approved July 26.

Level 1 is applied when the San Diego County Water Authority notifies its member agencies that due to drought or other supply reductions there is a reasonable probability of supply shortages and that a consumer demand reduction is required to ensure that sufficient supplies will be available to meet anticipated demands or if the State Water Resources Control Board adopts regulations which place restrictions on certain end user water use. Level 2 is triggered when the SDCWA notifies its member agencies that due to cutbacks caused by drought or other reduction in supplies a Municipal and Industrial demand reduction is required in order to have sufficient supplies available to meet anticipated demands.

Increasing cutbacks would cause Level 3 conditions. If the CWA board declares a water shortage emergency Level 4 will be implemented. Level 5 is for a declared drought crisis. A declared drought emergency would create Level 6 restrictions. Rainbow’s board approved Level 1 conditions in October 2021.


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