MMSA GETS HALL PASS ON DROUGHT RESTRICTIONS
Don’t hose off your sidewalk, save it for the bike and ski trails!
In a statement last May, Governor Jerry Brown promised to legislate stricter, long term drought restrictions. “It’s hard to say what the state will do, but the governor and legislature are working on permanent restrictions for individual households, something that was traditionally up to individual water departments,” said Pat Hayes, General Manager for Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) in an interview this week. In 2015, the Governor’s Office enforced drought regulations that required California residents to reduce their water consumption by 25 percent.
Hayes says Mammoth has done better than the state mandate, and that over the course of 2016 and 2015, Mammoth Community Water District reduced its consumption by 34 percent by enforcing level 3 drought restrictions, a higher standard than the statewide mandate. The restrictions came after surface water levels at Lake Mary dropped so low that MCWD had to rely exclusively on groundwater wells for the town’s water supply in 2015-2016.
According to Hayes, residential units are the largest consumers of water in the district, which serves about 9,000 permanent residents. According to the 2010 Urban Water Management Plan (2015 is due shortly), multi-family residential units were projected to consume 1,203 AFY, or about 392 million gallons annually by 2020. Single and multi-family residences are the primary target of pending legislation to further restrict statewide water consumption.
When asked about Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA)’s water use, Hayes said that the mountain is located outside of the district and therefore not subject to the same restrictions as the rest of the community. MMSA operates on Federal land in the Inyo National Forest under a Special Use Permit from the United States Forest Service. As such, the mountain’s water use is not factored into MCWD’s reports and MCWD does not regulate its consumption except at Eagle and Canyon Lodges.