Monday, February 24, 2014


President Boucke called the Special meeting of the Board of Directors of the Stinson Beach County Water District to order on Monday, February 24, 2014, at 8:30 a.m., at the Stinson Beach Chapel located at 32 Belvedere, Stinson Beach, CA 94970.

Directors present:
Barbara Boucke, President
Lawrence Baskin, Vice President
Sandra Cross, Director
Morey Nelsen, Director
Jim Zell, Director

Treasurer present:
Judy Stemen

General Manager present:
Ed Schmidt

Staff present:
Toby Bisson - Water Supervisor

Helma Schwendig - Administrative Asst.


At the request of Vice President Baskin, the agenda was modified as a Public Hearing/Workshop and adopted as such by the Board. The Board appreciated the public's turnout and their support.




Adoption of the Water Rationing Implementation Ordinance as modified. (1) Large Family Criteria: Discuss and establish criteria for definition of large family, determine the extra allotments of water for a large family, and establish procedures for application and implementation of large family allotments; (2) Restoring Water Service: Discuss and establish criteria and application procedures for turning water service back on in the event of a termination of service; (3) Multiple Households on one meter: Discuss and establish criteria and procedures for increasing per day allotments where several residences are combined on one water meter; (4) Discuss Possible Commercial Rationing; (5) Next Meeting: Discuss and establish agenda for next special meeting. Discussion items were not limited, however, to these agenda items.

The General Manager summarized the action taken by the Board at the February 15, 2014 Regular Board meeting. The Board approved Ordinance No. GB-2014-01, which declared a water shortage emergency and restricted water use to 110 gallons per day per residence effective as of March 1, 2014. The Ordinance also included enforcement actions and, as required by law, was placed for publication in the Marin Independent Journal.

The General Manager's current staff report attachments included copies of the Drought Ordinance, a chart showing multifamily, commercial and irrigation account usage, a Master List of Water Saving Ideas, the Tiered Usage Report for the month of December 2013, a chart of the average daily residential use for 2012, correspondence from the public, and responses to questions from the Board meeting of February 15, 2014 at the Community Center.


Question No.

  1. Can we use Porta Potties? The District's Title IV limits porta potty use to special events and construction. Answer: The Board could say that for an emergency declaration of a drought, it is OK for Commercial only and on a case by case basis.
  2. As a commercial customer, how am I supposed to limit toilet usage? I will have to have police there? Answer: Make sure you have enough staff to regulate - refer back to Porta Potties.
  3. Why do this? (Commercial rationing) Answer: This is an issue of fairness. It will apply to all, sacrifices need to be made across the board.
  4. Why not a sophisticated study of all commercial water usage? Answer: Each business should scan the existing list of water conservation ideas. Owners of commercial businesses are more knowledgeable about their operations than the District.
  5. Why not place flow restrictors in everybody's water line? Answer: Inefficient - unreliable - dangerous in an emergency. They can slip out of place, or get bent during installation, which could stop all flow.
  6. Why don't we have more water line replacements done by Private Contractors? Answer: We have skillful staff and we have used contractors for some major projects in the past. They will continue to be used.
  7. Why don't you loan us $ to try water conservation plumbing fixtures? Answer: We don't have the resources to implement a program. We need the $ for CIP projects to stop water leaks and retrofit water storage tanks.
  8. Why not dam up the creek behind the Community Center? Answer: Illegal to dam up North coast creeks. Several government agencies, Fish & Wildlife, State Water Resources Board, California Coastal Commission, Marin County, NOAA, etc.
  9. Who needs to clean the sand out of the meter boxes? Answer: District does, just call us. Our responsibility.
  10. Can I come in and buy an additional water connection for my second unit? Answer: If a proven legal unit, yes, presently.
  11. Shouldn't you have a higher amount of water allocated to apartments? Legal or illegal? Answer: No, if you don't have a legal second unit, we cannot provide you additional water. Illegal - No. If legal and you prove it, then you can have 110/unit.
  12. I've lived in the same home for 50 years. Could I be grandfathered in? Answer: No, it would be discriminating against other customers.
  13. What % is our lost water? What do other agencies have as lost water? Answer: 18- 20% annually, about 10% California state average. Likely the existing plan for the Calles and Patios will be modified to get it completed sooner.
  14. When would the rationing end? Answer: The Water Operations Committee will track supply and demand and forward a recommendation to the Board (based on longevity of the drought). Unknown at this time, but Water Operations Committee and Board will get monthly updates. The Board is willing to meet more frequently if necessary.
  15. How long would the water be shut off for? Answer: District staff will present an appeals process at the Wednesday, March 12, Special Board Meeting.
  16. Can we put a reservoir on the Federal park? Answer: Highly unlikely. District has been waiting 3 years on a cell antenna for an answer. Park has spent 5 years planning a new leachfield location. Can't stop fish flow in and out of creeks - Staff will call to know what the parameters are. Not economically feasible - would need to construct a new water line from the Park up to the Treatment Plant.
  17. Can a list be made of persons to call to help with meter reading? Answer: Yes, just call the office.
  18. If I have excess capacity, can I give it to my neighbor? Answer: Under consideration. Toby Bisson had provided the Board with data of the District's Current Water Production Capacity; the Projected Minimum Water Production Capacity Based on Historic Low Flow Conditions During the Past 20 Year Period; the Historic Summer Peak Water Demand by All Users; the Historic Summer Peak Water Demand with a 20% Reduction by All Users; Water Demand Projections With Single Family Residential Meter Rationing at 150 gallons per Day Average (600 Cubic Feet per Billing Cycle); and Water Demand Projections With Single Family Residential Meter Rationing at 110 Gallons per Day Average (442 Cubic Feet per Billing Cycle).

Right now, the plant is at full capacity, but slows down considerably in the summer. The heaviest water usage is during the month of July, when demand exceeds supply. A Board member noted that if the rationing allotment were increased to 150 gallons per day, water production would be insufficient to meet the amount of water needed in the event that a large fire occurs in July.

The District's watershed has received about 1/2 of its annual rainfall to date. After much back and forth discussion, and in view of the recent rains and decreased demand, as well as current water production and projected demands, the Board felt that 110 gallons per day per residence was too restrictive.

Vice President Baskin made 2 motions: (1) to amend the Ordinance approved at the February 15, 2014 Board meeting by replacing the rationing allotment of 110 gallons per day per residence to 125 gallons per day effective April 1, 2014, and (2) to eliminate the second fine notice and, instead, increase the one fine to $400. Director Zell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

The Board directed the General Manager to insert a Revised Drought Rationing Allocation notice in the February water bills, restricting usage to 125 gallons per residence per day, starting April 1 until further notice. The notice will also contain the following provisions relating to enforcement of the Ordinance:

Enforcement in effect on April 1st, regardless of whether the excess water usage occurs in consecutive billing cycles:

a. Notice #1 (a warning notice) will be sent with the May bill to reduce water usage if the customer's monthly usage for April exceeds 125 gallons per residence per day (500 cubic feet per month), requesting them to reduce their maximum usage to 125 gallons per residence per day in subsequent billing cycles.

b. If a subsequent over usage occurs, Notice #2 (a violation notice) will be sent no earlier than June and a fine of $400 will be charged.

c. If another subsequent over usage (violation) occurs, Notice #3 will be sent no earlier than July and a cease and desist order will be issued, and water will be turned off and water service will be terminated.

d. Termination of Water Service: Water waste consisting of continued water consumption in violation of the provisions of the ordinance will serve as prima facie evidence that the water use is excessive and will result in the termination of water service. A charge shall be paid prior to reactivating a service that has been terminated. The charge shall be specified from time to time by resolution of the Stinson Beach County Water District.

An appeal process for additional water allocation for special needs, restoration of water service in event of shutoff, and other implementing regulations are being developed by the Board.

[Note: It was determined after the Special Public Hearing/Workshop on February 24 that the approved Ordinance GB-2014-01 could not be modified, but necessitated the creation of a new Ordinance, numbered GB-2014-02.]

The Board listened and duly noted the comments from the audience.

The District has explored additional water sources. It drilled a new well at the Steep Ravine Tank site. However, after sustained pumping, the well proved to yield very little water.

The District has taken steps to reduce its unaccounted for water, caused by leaks in the distribution system. One example of leak reduction is the recently completed Highway 1 water main replacement project.

The General Manager briefly reported on several proposals discussed at the recent Finance Committee meeting: (1) accelerate the replacement of the aged and leaking water main lines in the Calles and the Patios; and (2) replace the majority of the District's meter heads.

The Board directed the General Manager to research and apply for possible grant funding for future water development, perhaps drilling another well.

Vice President Baskin made a motion that commercial users be contacted to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by either 20% or a weighted average approach. Director Nelsen seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Bob Temer, owner of two of the local restaurants, stated he has already purchased the most efficient dishwashers on the market and cannot meet a 20% reduction.

The Board is seeking ideas and input from the community for discussion at the March 12 meeting. Issues to be resolved deal with how to appeal for increased water due to special family needs, medical needs, what conservation measures have been implemented by those requesting an additional allotment. Large families are encouraged to monitor their usage and experiment with water saving measures over the next several months.


The motion to adjourn the meeting was approved by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 a.m.

Another Special Board meeting/workshop will be held at the Chapel, 32 Belvedere Avenue, on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, at 8:30 a.m.

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