SCV Water and its customers understand the importance of being Water SMART. The “SMART” has stood for “Saving Money and Resources Today,” but lately we find the last word may be more appropriately called “Together.”
Since implementing water allocations, the Valencia Water Division is working even more closely with its customers to help them become more water efficient and take steps to help prevent the wasteful use of this precious resource.
The Santa Clarita Valley is an attractive place to live and work, in part because of its hundreds of acres of well-designed and maintained parks, sports fields, landscaped sidewalks, pathways and entryways.
Yet, landscape irrigation can account for 50 percent or more of the water used in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Water SMART Allocation Program for Residential and Dedicated Irrigation Meter Customers promotes optimum water efficiency through:
- Allocations that reward efficiency and discourage waste
- High-efficiency irrigation technology
- Santa Clarita Valley friendly plants that use less water
- Educational programs for the latest planting and irrigation techniques
- Free water surveys and analysis
The Valencia Water Division Water SMART Allocation Program for Residential and Dedicated Irrigation Meter Customers is a fair and equitable method of providing customers with an amount of water calculated to efficiently meet their specific needs.
The Water SMART Allocation Program is also applicable to customers using multiple sources of water (potable, recycled and untreated) through meters dedicated to irrigate the same landscaped area (referred to as “Dedicated Irrigation Meters – Mixed Sources”). Details on how Dedicated Irrigation Meters – Mixed Sources work is explained on Schedule No. 1-DIM-MS.
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Valencia Water Division works with Residential and Dedicated Irrigation Meter Customers – from commercial property owners to local municipalities to homeowner associations – to reduce overall irrigation use.
An undetected leak, broken pipe or spray head, faulty irrigation valves or incorrect irrigation schedule can waste hundreds or thousands of gallons of water and can result in unnecessary higher bills. Too much water can also damage sidewalks, fences and other hardscapes, further adding to the costs of maintenance and replacement.
Consider the latest in landscaping techniques that can lead to even more water savings while retaining beauty and appeal.
Log onto your Web Connect account to evaluate your historical water use and compare it with your monthly water allocation.
- Variance Request Process
The Water SMART Allocation Program is applicable to all residential customers and dedicated irrigation meter water service. While the Water SMART Allocation Program is designed specifically for each of the customer’s individual water needs at an efficient level, there may be instances when a customer needs a modified Water SMART allocation.
You may qualify for a variance (increase) if there are more than four (4) people living in the home, if the actual landscaped area maintained and irrigated by the customer is 1) greater than the landscaped area assigned, 2) in a fire control zone, 3) in an erosion control zone or 4) is considered as Special Landscaped Area.
Based on the above criteria, if you qualify for an increased allocation please print and complete the Variance Request Form and return it to our Customer Service department along with the required documentation. Variance Request Forms can also be picked up at the Valencia Water Division office at 24631 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA 91355.
For more information, call Customer Service department at (661) 294-0828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are requesting a variance for landscaped areas that may be considered “Special Landscaped Areas”, in a fire control zones or an erosion control zone, please refer to Residential Variance or Schedule No. DIM-VAR for additional information.
Click hereto read Valencia Water Division’s complete variance process.
WaterSmart Allocation Program – FAQs
- What is the Water Smart Allocation Program?
Water allocations are a scientific method of calculating the water use needs at a residence and are implemented to promote greater water use efficiency. Water SMART allocations are provided to all individually metered residential homes and are based on the specific indoor and outdoor water needs of each individual residence.
- How is My Outdoor Water Allocation Calculated?
Outdoor allocations vary by landscaped area, daily weather conditions in the Santa Clarita Valley, and the number of days in a billing cycle. Based on weather data and evapotranspiration (ET) factors (see What is the formula for daily outdoor water allocations? and What is evapotranspiration? ), calculations are made to determine how much water is needed for a healthy lawn and landscape. Calculations assume landscapes at residential homes consist mostly of turf grass, generally the highest water using landscape type, for the first 2,500 square feet. As landscaped areas increase, the water-use factor goes down to a level for shrubs and drought-tolerant plants. For example, if your total landscaped area is 3,500 square feet, the first 2,500 square feet will be rated at the highest-water-using factor (turf) and the remaining 1,000 square feet will be rated for less-thirsty plants (shrubs). Valencia Water used aerial imaging to determine actual landscaped areas for every residential customer with a single meter. PLEASE NOTE: The introductory period for the Water SMART program in 2010 used “assigned” landscaped areas based on neighborhood averaging to calculate allocations. Some customers may notice changes in their allocations because we have switched to the more precise measuring system.
- How is My Indoor Water Allocation Calculated?
Indoor water use is usually much smaller when compared to outdoor water use. For individually metered family residences, indoor water usage typically accounts for less than 1/3 of a customer’s total usage. Indoor allocations are fixed at 6,500 gallons for a 30 day month based on national research conducted by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AWWARF) that shows what an average household of four living in a residential home would need if they used water efficiently and had the appropriate water-efficient fixtures. For example, in a home with a 2.5-gallons-per-minute showerhead (efficient), a shower under 8 minutes is considered being Water SMART. Your indoor allocation is calculated based on the number of days in a billing period. So if your billing period is 30 days long the allocation is 6,500 gallons, if it’s 28 days it will be slightly less than 6,500, if 33 days it would be slightly more. Variances are available upon request for special needs.New accordion content
- Why Were Four People in a Household Used?
Many water allocation programs in the country are implemented with flat amounts for indoor allocations, based on studies (such as by AWWARF) that show what a typical family residence would use. It is generally cost prohibitive to survey every residence to determine present-time household size and specific indoor fixtures, so an average household size is used. Four people per household were used to represent the average household size. Of course, residents are always encouraged to be as efficient as possible, regardless of how many reside in the house
- How Do I Know My Water Allocation?
Water allocations will be provided to customers on their monthly bill and our website. Customers can log onto their secure accounts through our Web Connect service, see current and past monthly allocations, how their allocations are split between indoor and outdoor use, and their actual water use compared to the allocation. If a customer finds that their water use is in the Inefficient or higher ranges, there are many tools offered by Valencia Water to help them become more efficient. See a sample of this information below and on the conservation page of this website.
- Will Water Allocations Vary?
Water allocations generally go up or down depending on the time of year and weather conditions. Valencia Water receives actual weather data for the region on a daily basis, so allocations may vary with fluctuating weather patterns. Generally, more water is allocated to homes during the summer months when landscapes need the water the most and less in the winter. Indoor allocations will vary by the length of the billing period, based on 6,500 gallons for a 30-day period.
- Why Do I Get My Water Allocation After the Month is Over?
Your water allocation will be calculated using actual ET data. If the allocation was to be given in advance, the allocation would have to be based on historic water usage and predictive weather data. This program is purposely designed to create shifts in usage based on actual, present weather patterns.
- Why Do We Need Water Allocations?
We live in a semi-arid area, so conservation is important to ensure we have long-term supplies for future generations. Valencia Water customers have been doing a good job at saving water. An allocation-based system provides customers with greater detail about their individual water use, enabling them to better monitor their use and help them identify where they can be even more efficient. Being water efficient is good for California whether we’re in a drought or not. The water we save today will be there when we really need it.
Valencia Water’s allocation program is a tool for customers in response to state law requiring per-capita water use in the state be reduced by 20 percent by 2020. Valencia Water believes its Water SMART program is an effective and fair approach to meeting these objectives.
- Are Water Allocations New?
Water allocation programs have been around for more than 20 years and increasingly are being implemented in communities throughout California and the Western United States. In communities using allocations, many customers have become more efficient without sacrificing their lifestyle. On average, customers provided additional information about their water use become 20 percent more efficient.
- What Are The Advantages Of A Water Allocation?
For customers, they can see more precise information about their water use and how much of their water should be used indoors and out. Such helpful information allows customers to better monitor their water use and more easily identify where they can be more efficient with this most precious resource. In the Santa Clarita Valley, typically 2/3 of the water delivered to homes is used outdoors, primarily for irrigating landscapes. In most cases, homeowners over-water their landscapes. The allocation program provides more precise calculations for landscape irrigation.
For Valencia Water, allocation programs can help reduce water demands. Additionally, minimizing overall water demands on the system extends the budget for repairs and maintenance of Valencia Water’s infrastructure system. Collectively, these things will help keep water.
- Are There Other Ways To Encourage People not To Waste Water?
Water allocations are based on need and, thus, a fairer method than, say, asking everyone to conserve 10 percent of their historic water use. Water purveyors who have implemented water allocation programs such as ours have seen significant decreases in water use, particularly because these programs help customers make informed decisions about water efficiency improvements.
- Will Everyone Have a Water Allocation?
The Water SMART allocation program currently applies to individually metered residences and dedicated irrigation metered customers with plans to expand to other customer categories. Individually metered residences are the largest category of Valencia Water’s customers.
- What are the Efficiency Ratings?
The Water SMART allocation program will show customers their monthly allocation, along with five descriptions of their use (from low to high) within this allocation. These ranges are:
- Super Efficient: Indoor Allocation
- Efficient: Outdoor Allocation
- (Tier 1 + Tier 2 = 100% of total allocation)
- Inefficient: 101% – 150% of allocation
- Excessive: 151% – 200% of allocation
- Wasteful: 200% + of allocation
- If I Am Above My Allocation, How Do I Reach The Efficient Level?
In most cases, water customers who exceed their base (efficient level) allocation can take a few simple steps to be more efficient and remain within their baseline allocation. Already, our website provides a variety of tools to help customers – from easy-to-use water conservation tips, to home water surveys , to rebates for smart irrigation controllers, irrigation, and more. For information, visit the Water Conservation area or call a customer care representative at (661) 294-0828.
- What if my WaterSMART Allocation is Inaccurate?
Variances, which increase the water allocation, can be reviewed and granted on a case-by-case basis. Variances can be granted for more than 4 people living in a home or for landscape modifications not captured by our aerial imaging. There are also other unique situations where variances can be granted, such as for special medical needs or fire protection. Should you need an allocation greater than the standard amount for your home, go to Variance Request Process, or call our customer care department at (661) 294-0828.
- Are All Landscapes Treated The Same?
The “minimum” landscaped area is 500 square feet. This means that some residential customers will receive a water allocation based on the minimum, although their landscape may be smaller.
- What Is The Formula For Daily Water Allocations (WA)?
The outdoor calculation formula looks like this:
WA = (ETo x Kc1 x LA1 x .623) / IE + (ETo x Kc2 x LA2 x .623) / IE
(The key is below)
- WA = Water Needed for Irrigation (Gallons/Day)
- ET0 = Evapotranspiration Factor (Inches/Day)
- Kc1 = Crop Coefficient for Plant Type=.7 (assumes all turf grass)
- Kc2 = Crop Coefficient for Plant Type=.5 (shrubs)
- LA1 = The first 2,500 square feet of actual Landscaped Area
- LA2 = Any incremental increase in actual Landscaped Area that exceeds 2,500 square feet
- 0.623 = Conversion Factor (Gallons / Sq. ft.)
- IE = Irrigation Efficiency= .71
The WA for each day in a billing period, which varies between 28-33 days, is accumulated to give the outdoor water allocation for the entire period.
- What Is Evapotranspiration?
The amount of water a customer should apply on a landscape varies by weather conditions and time of year. If it hasn’t rained during the hotter, longer days of summer, a landscape can dry up quicker and, therefore, a customer needs more water to keep a landscape healthy. Usually starting in September, as days grow shorter, water stays in a soil longer and a customer does not need to water as much. Evapotranspiration (ET) is the loss of water in the atmosphere by the combined process of evaporation (from soil and plant surfaces) and transpiration (from plant tissues).
- Where Do You Get The Evapotranspiration Information?
This information is downloaded daily from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS), a program of the Office of Water Use Efficiency, California Department of Water Resources. CIMIS weather stations, (there are more than 120 automated weather stations in California), collect weather data on a minute-by-minute basis, calculate hourly and daily values and store them in dataloggers. Valencia Water Company obtains its evapotranspiration information from the CIMIS weather station located at the SCV Water main office in Santa Clarita. For more information on how CIMIS stations collect and process data, click here.
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