WATER EFFICIENCY / Wet – FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – WET PROGRAM


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WHAT IS THE WATER EFFICIENCY TARGET (WET) PROGRAM?


WET is a communication tool to help you conserve water.  Although the WET program is not used in calculating your water bill, if you reduce the amount of water you use, you will also reduce the amount of money you spend on water.  Water targets are a scientific method of calculating the water needs at a residence and are implemented to promote more efficient water use. Water Efficiency Target (WET) targets are provided to most individually metered residential homes and are based on the specific indoor and outdoor water needs of each individual residence.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WET AND MANDATORY DROUGHT CONSERVATION RESTRICTIONS?


We are currently in the midst of one of the worst droughts in the history of California. Therefore, the State Water Resources Control Board has issued mandatory water use restrictions; (see 2015-Drought) however, NCWD is now able to take into account the drought planning that the district and this valley has been preparing for, for years. WET is a tool to empower customers to achieve efficient water use. Although you may already be using water efficiently, you still may need to reduce your water consumption in response to California legislation (SBx7-7) requiring per-capita water use in the state to be reduced by 20 percent by 2020.

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WILL WET AFFECT MY MONTHLY WATER BILL?


The simple answer is NO.  WETs are not used in calculating a customers monthly bill.  They are a communication tool to help customers use water more efficiently and reduce usage.  However, if a customer uses less water there is a direct savings of both water and money.  

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HOW IS MY INDOOR WATER TARGET CALCULATED?


Your indoor water target is 55 gallons per person per day with a minimum of 4 persons for every single family residential household. This indoor quantity is based on California Legislation (SBx7-7) and states that 55 gallons per person per day is an efficient indoor water use for things such as cooking, cleaning, sanitation, and laundry. If there are more than 4 residents in your home please contact our customer service staff or fill out a variance form.

The formula for calculating indoor water use is: (55 gallons x number of persons per household x days in the service period). Customers whose water usage is solely in the indoor water target range are considered Super-Efficient.

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WHY WERE FOUR PEOPLE IN A HOUSEHOLD USED?


Using data from the most recent census the Newhall County Water District’s service areas showed an average of slightly more than 3 people per household. Therefore, 4 people per household were used to represent the average household size.

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HOW IS MY OUTDOOR WATER TARGET CALCULATED?


In many residential homes throughout  the Santa Clarita Valley, outdoor irrigation accounts for  the most amount of water used. The larger the landscaped area the more water needed for outdoor irrigation. The personalized outdoor water efficiency target is based on the actual size of the irrigated area measured in square feet. Weather is also a component used in the calculation of outdoor water needs.  When weather is hotter the outdoor target increases. When weather is cooler the outdoor target decreases. This parameter in the formula is referred to as the evapotranspiration rate (ETo).  University research and State law have established maximum allowable water application values to urban landscapes. The maximum is defined as 80% of the local ETo rate (see what is ETo).  Each plant type has its own “crop coefficient” (Kc).  The Kc is directly related to the amount of water a certain type of plant needs.  For example the Kc for turf (grass) is 0.7, shrub is 0.5 and trees are 0.1.

Irrigation Efficiency (IE). Most irrigation systems are not 100 percent efficient, meaning, water from irrigation systems quite often “over-sprays” and runs off the actual area being irrigated. Therefore, an efficiency factor is applied to calculate the extra water needed to adjust for the inefficiency of different systems. Our original calculation used a factor of 62.5 percent, which was from the Department of Water Resources Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance dated September 19, 2005. Our new calculation uses a factor of 71 percent, which is from the Department of Water Resources Updated Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance dated December 2010.

Special Note: The maximum allowable Landscape Area for turf (grass) is 3,500 sq.ft. per individually metered residential home. All additional turf (grass) served by the same meter will be calculated with a Kc of 0.5.

The formula for calculating outdoor water use is: (Landscape Area (sqft) x ETo x Kc x 0.623 (conversion factor) / IE. Customers whose water usage is within the Indoor and Outdoor water target range are considered Efficient.

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HOW DO I KNOW MY WATER TARGET?


Water targets will be provided to customers on their monthly bill and via our website Account Access portal. Customers can log onto their secure accounts through our Account Access portal to see current and past monthly targets, how their targets are split between indoor and outdoor use, and their actual water use compared to the target. If a customer finds that their water use is in the Inefficient or higher ranges, there are many tools offered by Newhall County Water District to help them become more efficient. (See Rebates)

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WILL WATER TARGETS VARY?


Yes – Water targets are unique every month. Your Indoor target will only change slightly depending on the number of days in the billing cycle. Your Outdoor target will change every month based on the weather. When weather is hotter your Outdoor target will increase. When weather is cooler your Outdoor target will decrease.

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WHY DO I GET MY WATER TARGET AFTER THE BILLING CYCLE IS OVER?


Your water target is calculated using actual weather data. If the target was to be given in advance, the target would have to be based on historic weather data not actual weather data. This program is purposely designed to adjust on a monthly basis using actual weather data to give you the most accurate target possible.

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WHY DO WE NEED WATER TARGETS?


We live in a semi-arid area, so conservation is important to ensure we have long-term supplies for future generations. Newhall County Water District customers have been doing a good job at saving water. A water target-based program provides customers with greater detail about their individual water use, enabling them to better gauge 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. Newhall County Water District’s target program is also in response to California legislation (SBx7-7) requiring per-capita water use in the state to be reduced by 20 percent by 2020. Newhall County Water District believes its Water Efficiency Target (WET) program is an effective and useful tool in helping our customers meet these objectives.

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ARE WATER TARGETS NEW?


Water target programs have been around for more than 20 years and are increasingly being implemented in communities throughout California and the Western United States. In communities using targets, many customers have become more efficient without sacrificing their lifestyle. Statistical data has shown customers who are provided additional information about their water usage have a greater potential of reducing water consumption.

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WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A WATER TARGET?


Water targets are a communication tool for customers, providing more precise information about their individual water use and how much of their water is needed to support indoor and outdoor uses.  Such helpful information allows customers to better gauge their water use and more easily identify where they can be more efficient with this most precious resource. In the Santa Clarita Valley, typically 65 to 70% of the water delivered to homes is used outdoors, primarily for irrigating landscapes. In most cases, homeowners over-water their landscapes. The target program provides more specific calculations for landscape irrigation. If customers can keep their target usage in the efficient range, the target program can help reduce water demands and, thus, minimize purchases of expensive imported water from Northern California. Additionally, minimizing overall water demands on the system extends the budget for repairs and maintenance of Newhall County Water Districts’ infrastructure system. Collectively, these things will help keep water rates reasonable.  Although WETs are not used in the calculation of water bills, the less water a customer uses, the more money they could save.

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ARE THERE OTHER WAYS TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE NOT TO WASTE WATER?


Yes – It is easy to tell someone letting water run down the gutter not to waste water. However, what if you don’t realize you’re wasting water? Water targets are a tool to gauge your water use. We believe through water usage monitoring people will reduce their consumption if they know they are being inefficient.  NCWD also has a number of rebate programs to help customers conserve water. (See Rebates)

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WILL EVERYONE HAVE A WATER TARGET?


No – The Water Efficiency Target (WET) target program currently applies to individually metered single family residents.  NCWD is looking to expand this program to large dedicated landscape customers such as parks, street medians, and “common area” landscaping.  Individually metered single family residents are the largest category of Newhall County Water District’s customers .

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WHAT ARE THE TARGET USAGE RANGES?


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IF I AM ABOVE MY TARGET, HOW CAN I ATTAIN AN EFFICIENT RANGE?


Customers who exceed their target can usually take a few simple steps to reach the Efficient Target range. Simply adjusting a sprinkler timer could do the trick. However, finding other causes of high water usage can be challenging and Newhall County Water District is here to help you. For additional resources please visit www.ncwd.org/water-efficiency or call a Customer Service Representative at (661) 259-3610 or email us at waterefficiency@ncwd.org for assistance.

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WHAT IF I NEED MORE WATER? (VARIANCE PROCESS)


Variances, which increase the Water Target, 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.

Variance Form

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ARE ALL LANDSCAPES TREATED THE SAME?


No – Landscaped areas were measured using aerial imaging. Your measurement and plant material is unique to your property. If you feel there was an error in calculating your landscaped area please complete a variance form or call a Customer Service Representative at (661) 259-3610 or email us at waterefficiency@ncwd.org for assistance.

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WHAT IS ET?


ET ET is short for Evapotranspiration. Think of it as negative rain falling up! Simply put, it is the amount of water that evaporates out of planted soils and used by plants during a period of time. ET changes as weather changes. It is affected by sunlight, temperature, wind and humidity. ET is an important indicator of how much water plants need for healthy growth. NCWD uses daily ET in the calculation of all outdoor water targets. As ET increases because of warm temperatures or wind, your individualized outdoor water target increases too. As ET decreases due to rainfall or cooler temperatures, your outdoor water target also decreases. State laws and regulations use ET information to establish the water target for Efficient outdoor irrigation. The science of ET was developed by the University of California and is used in agriculture and landscaping nationwide.

Plants and ET
  • Cool season turfgrass is the standard reference plant for measuring ET in California. Turfgrass is the highest water using plant in urban landscapes. All other landscape plants need less water than turfgrass.
  • 1 square foot typically needs about 30 gallons per year
  • 1,000 square feet needs roughly 30,000 gallons per year
  • Trees, shrubs and groundcovers typically require 25-50 percent less water than turfgrass.
  • Citrus trees typically require 20 percent less water than turfgrass.
  • Vegetables and herbs typically require less water than turfgrass, but have higher water needs during establishment and fruiting.
  • California friendly plants, succulents and native plants require much less water than turfgrass.

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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 data loggers. NCWD obtains its evapotranspiration information from the CIMIS weather station located at the Castaic Lake Water Agency main office in Santa Clarita. For more information on CIMIS stations data, go to: www.cimis.water.ca.gov.

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