SOQUEL, Calif. -

The Soquel Creek Water District is holding a public hearing Tuesday about its new program aimed at saving water in the long term.

CONSERVATIONplus, which would take effect in early 2015,  is designed to solve one-third of the district’s long-term water-shortage. Board members say it will do so in a fair, equitable and cost-effective manner. T

The program includes water budgets for all residential customers and requires indoor and outdoor water conservation measures for businesses and vacation rentals.

CONSERVATIONplus would include the following provisions for residents:

  • Water budgets set at 75 gallons a day per person (85 gallons a day for single family homes with one occupant).
  • Excess use fees of up to $4 per 100 gallons used over budget will be charged to monthly bills.
  • Increased water budgets can be granted to residential customers with medical needs, in-home licensed care facilities and large animals.

CONSERVATIONplus includes the following provisions for commercial customers:

  • Businesses, institutions and registered vacation rentals must follow water conservation best management practices. These include high-efficiency Energy Star and WaterSense approved fixtures, no watering of turf grass (except for functional turf areas), and guidelines for landscape irrigation.
  • For accounts with dedicated irrigation meters, an outdoor budget of .75 gallons per square foot per month.
  • Excess use fees for non-compliance range from 1.5 times to 2 times the cost of water consumed at the facility during a billing period.

District staff have been developing CONSERVATIONplus with the water board since January, based on public input. While the draft ordinance is scheduled to be adopted this summer, the actual water budget requirements will not go into effect until early 2015.

The public hearing will be held Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at New Brighton Middle School, 250 Washburn Ave., Capitola.

The full meeting packet is available online here.

NewsChannel 5 reporter Monica Jacquez spoke with officials with the Soquel Creek Water District as well as residents and businesses who will be affected by the new policies. She'll have more on this program tonight at 6 p.m. Tune in!