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The Current Flow Newsletter

Issue 1, 2016


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Making Your Water Budget Work for You

Beginning in January 2016, each LVMWD customer will have a "water budget" that will change every month. This new program is designed to help customers actively manage their water use and encourage greater efficiency throughout the year. Here are some highlights of the new plan:

  • Water budgets consider your unique water needs based on the number of people and the amount of irrigated area at your home.
  • Water budgets are not based on your past usage.
  • Customers who stay within their monthly budgeted amount will pay the lowest rates.

Budgets will change monthly; more water will be allotted during the warm weather, less during the cooler seasons.

You can check your estimated monthly water budget by using the interactive water budget calculator available at MyWaterBudget. Have your customer number (found on your water bill) handy when you go to the website.

MyWaterBudget

 

If you believe there’s an error in your landscaped area calculation, or if there’s a change in the number of residents in your household, call Customer Service during regular business hours. If errors in landscaped areas results in over- or under-billing, we will make the necessary adjustment on your next bill so that it corresponds to the actual cost of the water you used. Although it may take time, we are committed to working with each customer until we have the correct information.

The key to managing your water budget is actively changing the amount of time your irrigation system operates. This can be done through manual adjustments or by using one of the newer weather-based irrigation controllers that, when programmed, can make the adjustments for you. Rebates are available on qualifying models, see www.socalwatersmart.com for details. Some models can be programmed, controlled and monitored using your smartphone.

Customers who exceed their budgets will pay more. "Inefficient" use is defined as using 101% to 150% of the total water budget. "Excessive" users who exceed 150% of their budgeted amount will pay even more.

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How is Outdoor Use Calculated?

The amount of water landscaping loses to evaporation and plant transpiration is known as evapotranspiration (ET). It varies daily due to factors such as wind, humidity and temperature. LVMWD uses a system that calculates the ET value for every half-mile square area to account for the 374 microclimate zones within the service area. Existing landscaping is allocated 80 % of ET while newly-constructed landscaping is required to be more efficient so it receives 55% of ET. The LVMWD online estimator uses historical ET values to give you a range of outdoor water budget based on the area you irrigate.

 

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Preparing for El Niño and Winter Weather

Forecasters are predicting a very wet January, February and March for Southern California. Residents need to prepare for possible flooding, mudslides and power outages. While we hope for rain that brings relief from the drought, customers should be prepared to deal with "too much of a good thing." El Niño

Visit www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/ca-flood-preparedness/fpw_prepare.cfm to learn how to prep your home for a flood and a list of items to include in your emergency supply kit.

Be sure gutters and downspouts are clear and the water has a pathway away from structures. Be mindful to monitor water levels in pools and spas.

Fire stations across LA County are offering FREE sandbags to residents to help with flood control. For a list of these stations and the most up-to-date weather-related information, including road closures, visit www.lacounty.gov/elnino.

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Saving Water
The Toilet Is Not a Trash Can

Sewer lines and treatment plants are designed to only handle biological wastes and toilet paper. Help avoid costly and messy clogs by not flushing cigarette butts, plastics, metals, bandages, dental floss, baby wipes or other personal hygiene items. Even when some packages say "flushable," that does not mean they’re able to break down; they can cause costly clogs in household drain lines and the sewer system that serves the region.

Another item to avoid flushing down the drain is kitchen waste, which includes fats, cooking oil or grease.

Never pour unused or expired pharmaceuticals, gasoline, motor oil, anti-freeze, paint, pool chemicals, acetone (found in nail polish remover) or similar items down the drain. They pose hazards to the sewer system and could impede treatment processes at the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility.

Contact your city to find out when and where you can safely dispose of hazardous waste items.

Toilet is Not a Trash Can

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Sign up for the February 6 Tour

Join us for a FREE, half-day tour of the Tapia Water Reclamation and Rancho Las Virgenes Composting Facilities. You’ll learn how LVMWD turns your wastewater into high-quality recycled water and garden compost; and you’ll have the opportunity to pose questions to our knowledgeable staff. A light breakfast and lunch are provided. Priority registration is given to LVMWD customers. Children must be 10 or older and under the supervision of a responsible adult in order to participate.

To register and view the itinerary, go to QuarterlyTours.


Quarterly Tour

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Get The Current Flow by E-mail

Bi-monthly billing has transitioned to monthly billing. However, The Current Flow has not, it will continue as a bi-monthly publication.

If you receive a paper monthly water/sewer bill, you will receive a paper copy of The Current Flow. If you receive The Current Flow in a separate mailing without a monthly bill, this will be your last paper copy of The Current Flow.

Should you want to continue receiving the bi-monthly newsletter, please sign up for e-Notification at e-Notification to receive it electronically.

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Winter Advisory: Preventing Frost Damage

To minimize plant frost damage due to irrigation, we advise customers to water after sunrise but before 10 AM. Doing so allows the plants to absorb the water before the temperature drops at night.

Winter Advisory: Preventing Frost Damage

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Protect Your Pipes

Even in our moderate climate, winter often brings cold overnight temperatures that can cause exposed pipes to freeze and possibly burst. Approximately 250,000 U.S. homes suffer damage from frozen pipes that burst each year.

Follow these simple steps to prevent your pipes from freezing:

1. Locate the water source line that comes into your home. Most likely, it will be near the foundation area, above ground, where the pipe enters the house.

2. Use insulation tape or an insulation sleeve to wrap around the pipe.

3. If you have exposed pipes that run through non-insulated areas of your house, these sections should also be wrapped with insulation tape or a foam insulation sleeve. Don’t forget to insulate exposed irrigation lines.

If you do experience frozen pipes, DO NOT use a blowtorch or other open flame device when trying to thaw them. Instead, use a hair dryer, heat tape (available at hardware stores) or an electric heating pad wrapped around the frozen pipe, allowing it to gently thaw. Be sure to then inspect the lines for cracks and leaks after a freeze; remember that water expands when frozen, which can damage your pipes.

A technique often recommended is to let water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes, to prevent freezing. Unless you plan to save this trickle of water in a bucket, we encourage insulating the pipes instead.

For more information, visit frozen-pipes.

Protect Your Pipes

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At Your Service
Leaks Can Run, but They Can’t HideAt Your Service - Fix a Leak

That "drip, drip, drip" from your kitchen sink faucet or garden hose may seem harmless enough, but household leaks waste more than one trillion gallons of water nationwide each year. During "Fix a Leak Week," March 14 - 20, we want you to check your plumbing fixtures and irrigation system for leaks. You’ll save water and money by promptly fixing any leaks you find. On the other hand, why wait for March? Do it today!

To learn how to find and fix leaks in your home, go to www3.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/howto.html.

Fix a Leak Week

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The Missing PieceThe Missing Piece

As of January 1, Water Budgets will change every month, True or False?

Send your response to:

The Missing Piece, LVMWD, 4232 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, CA 91302, or send to LittleDrop@LVMWD.com with "Missing Piece" in the subject line. Please include your mailing address in case you are a winner! Prizes awarded monthly to ten winners randomly selected from the correct responses. Watch for the answer in the next issue of The Current Flow.

Previous issue’s Missing Piece answer:

What is one way to properly dispose of cooking grease?

Answer: You can do the following—

  • Pour used cooking grease into a heat-safe container, store it in the fridge, wait until it hardens and throw it in the trash.
  • Wipe greasy pots, dishes and utensils with a paper towel before washing.
  • Catch fatty food scraps in the sink with strainer and place them in the trash.

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