The El Dorado Irrigation District, using its rapid notification system, sent out 43,913 drought phone messages and received 145 calls about the drought declaration, the EID board learned Feb. 10. By Feb. 12, the district had received 72 more calls.
Director Greg Prada suggested the district use electronic signs to notify people about the drought.
Director George Osborne suggested using the Caltrans sign in El Dorado Hills. Caltrans has since announced it would use its electronic signs to publicize the drought, would stop washing its trucks and reduce by 50 percent its irrigation of plantings along highways and install rain sensors to automatically shut off the irrigation systems.
Communications Director Mary Lynn Carlton said she had replaced the rotating photos on the EID Website with current drought photos and 1977 drought photos. The Website also has drought information from the board’s meeting and Stage 2 declaration, the state Water Action Plan, suggestions on how to cut water use 30 percent and statewide drought information, among other things.
By Wednesday Carlton had fielded 20 media calls and appeared on KCRA Channel 3.
“I want to compliment you on our Webpage,” said Board President Alan Day, who added he had searched around other water district Websites and found it hard to figure out what their drought restrictions were. “Ours is very clear.”
EID also sent out an e-mail blast to all those who had given the district e-mail addresses. Wednesday, Carlton said the district had sent out a second e-mail blast.
Day also suggested sending out postcards asking people to turn off their irrigation systems in the winter.
General Manager Jim Abercrombie has been studying what actions the district took in the 1975-77 drought and found that when the district declared a drought in February 1977 it “actually implemented a draconian drought rate of 50-60 percent. The drought rate only applied to Tiers 2 and 3, something not allowed now as a result of the passage of Proposition 218, which in part, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, says ‘local governments must set individual assessment charges so that no property owner pays more than his or her proportional share of the total cost.’”
Abercrombie noted that those 1977 drought rates amounted to $1.25 per 100 cubic feet for Tier 3 water use, which was “not too much different than what we have today.”
Abercrombie also reported that the storm total was 11.4 inches of rain at Sly Park and that Jenkinson Lake had gone up 1,400 acre-feet and was supplemented by 600 acre-feet of El Dorado Canal water via the Hazel Creek Tunnel.
“We have an integrated water system that enables us to fill Sly Park. We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said.
Caples Lake, elevation 7,960 feet, received 6 feet of snow from the storm Feb. 5-10. “We’re a long ways off from filling this reservoir,” Abercrombie said.