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Santa Monica Taps New Water Saving Campaign

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Hector Gonzalez
Staff Writer

May 15, 2015 -- After putting residential water allowances temporarily on hold, Santa Monica will begin sending out notices about the program later this month, officials said.

Local officials had delayed the program until the state Water Resource Control Board clarified legal issues surrounding the use of tiered water rates. Legal questions about the water billing system surfaced last month when the City of San Juan Capistrano lost a lawsuit filed against its tiered water rate structure.

 “We had originally planned to send them out last month but put it on hold in order to see where the state landed on their emergency regulations,” said Dean Kubani, Santa Monica’s sustainability manager.

Last week, the state Water Board said the lawsuit against San Juan Capistrano did not “foreclose” local suppliers from adopting water rates, which state water officials called “an effective conservation tool.”

“We plan to send notices out to all customers regarding their water use allowances later this month,” Kubani said.

An education campaign about the program and other City conservation efforts kicked off last Saturday at the Santa Monica Festival, where local officials reinforced ways to save water and promoted the City’s water rebate programs, free water consultations and other incentives.

The campaign will use a variety of methods to get the word out to residents, including print advertisements, banners around the City and social media, officials said.

In addition, the City launched a new “easy-to-use” website with information on saving water and water-saving incentives. The website is at smgov.net/water.

 “Through this campaign, we hope Santa Monicans see themselves as part of the solution and that being part of the solution is easy,” said Kubani.

Among the local incentives programs, residents can get a City rebate of up to $4,500 for replacing their lawns with sustainable landscaping. Local businesses can get rebates for installing high-efficiency urinals and toilets, he said.

Although incentives and rebates are part of the City’s strategy for reducing consumption, Kubani said water use allowances on all utility bills “will give each household their personalized water saving target.”

Regulations issued by the Water Board last week assigned Santa Monica a water “conservation standard” of 20 percent.

“Implementing water-saving efforts to meet these targets is key to Santa Monica reaching its goal of reducing water use 20 percent,” Kubani said.


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