The Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee declared a local water supply alert on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 triggering a set of water conservation measures that are to be taken by residents and businesses in response to California’s critical drought conditions.
The goal, Committee members said, is to reduce overall local water consumption by 20 percent. The Committee, whose members represent the Castaic Lake Water Agency, the City of Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County and all four local water retail purveyors, adopted its Stage 1 water conservation measures consistent with the region’s water conservation practices.
“Together, all of the Committee members are sending the message to local water users that the drought is a serious consideration for the Santa Clarita Valley,” said CLWA General Manager Dan Masnada. “We are relatively fortunate here. Thanks to advance water supply planning and our diverse portfolio of supplies, including water we’ve stored for situations like this, right now we don’t have to jump to draconian measures like outdoor watering bans. Other parts of our state are in much more dire straits.”
However, Masnada said, the time has clearly come for robust water conservation, and everyone in the SCV is asked to help by adhering to the guidelines, which include actions like altering irrigation schedules, checking irrigation systems for leaks and refraining from hosing down driveways.
The Committee’s action comes on the heels of two major developments in California’s ongoing battle against drought. In mid-January, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a statewide drought emergency due to record dry conditions and an alarmingly low Sierra snowpack. And on Friday, January 31, 2014 the state Department of Water Resources announced that the 29 agencies that contract with the State Water Project — which includes CLWA — will receive zero percent of their 2014 water allocations unless precipitation and changes in water storage levels over the next few months warrant an increase.
SCV Water Committee members were united in their response on Tuesday.
“We always advocate efficient use of water, because that’s the responsible thing to do whether we’re experiencing drought conditions or not. Using water responsibly during non-drought years helps minimize the impacts when the droughts like this one inevitably occur,” said Steve Cole, General Manager at Newhall County Water District.
But, he and his fellow Committee members said the need for efficiency has taken on a new sense of urgency. “These circumstances are extraordinary, and it’s more important than ever that water users exercise care and use water as efficiently as possible. So, even if you normally use water efficiently, now is the time to go the extra mile,” added Mauricio Guardado, Manager of the Santa Clarita Water Division.
If drought conditions persist, it may trigger the Committee to activate the second and third stages, which include mandatory restrictions and prohibitions in addition to the voluntary measures that already have been enacted.
“We’re all in agreement that the circumstances leave little option but to adopt these water conservation measures at this point,” said, Keith Abercrombie, General Manager of the Valencia Water Company. “We’re pleased that, locally, the situation is not as severe as it is in other communities. And, while it’s clear that no one single storm will solve California’s water crisis, we’re hoping that the drought will break in the coming year and enable us to avoid mandatory restrictions on water use.”
The following is a summary of the conservation measures adopted by the SCV Water Committee on February 4, 2014:
* Repair all leaks in irrigation systems immediately and maintain systems, including sprinklers, so overspray, runoff and water waste is avoided.
* Use the most water-efficient irrigation, including drip irrigation when appropriate.
* Choose drought-tolerant vegetation to minimize the need for irrigation, and group plants with similar water needs together for more efficient irrigation. See Santaclaritagardens.com for resources.
* Use mulch on exposed dirt to lessen evaporation.
* Water during optimal watering hours of 2-6 a.m. to avoid wind and evaporation. Adjust run times to minimum values. See the Watering Guide on santaclaritagardens.com for samples of irrigation schedules.
* Minimize water use on decorative fountains, ponds or other types of water streams by incorporating a recycling system so water is continually recovered and reused.
* Use pool and spa safety covers or evaporation-reducing water treatments, if safe and appropriate for the situation. Pool and spa chemistry should be balanced and maintained to help reduce the frequency of pool/spa draining and refilling.
* Use a hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle when washing a car.
* Sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots or any other hard-surfaced areas should not be washed down, except for health and safety purposes.
* Repair all leaks in faucets, toilets, and indoor pipes immediately.
* Install high-efficiency toilets (1.28 gallons per flush).
* Install low-flow aerators in bathroom and kitchen sinks.
* Install low-flow showerheads in showers.
* Install water-efficient Energy Star® approved appliances, including clothes washers and dishwashers.
* Run only full loads in clothes washers and dishwashers.
* All commercial establishments where food or beverages are provided should serve water to their customers only when specifically requested by the customer.
A full copy of the voluntary action plan and other water-saving tips can be found online at www.clwa.org, or visit your water retailer’s websites:
* L.A. County Water Works District No. 36: www.dpw.lacounty.gov/wwd/web/
* Newhall County Water District: www.ncwd.org
* Santa Clarita Water Division: www.santaclaritawater.com
* Valencia Water Company: www.valenciawater.com
About the SCV Water Committee: The Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee, formerly known as the SCV Drought Committee, was formed in 2008 to bring multiple agencies together to jointly respond to drought conditions in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Committee meets regularly to monitor water supply conditions and prepare actions that may need to be taken in the event of drought. Its members include Castaic Lake Water Agency, the City of Santa Clarita, Los Angeles County and the four local water purveyors: Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 36, Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company.
About the Castaic Lake Water Agency: The Castaic Lake Water Agency (CLWA) is the Santa Clarita Valley’s public water wholesaler. We provide about half of the Santa Clarita Valley’s water from imported State Water Project supplies. CLWA operates three treatment plants, three pump stations, three storage facilities, and over 45 miles of transmission pipelines. Our service area is 195 square miles. Our mission is to provide reliable, quality water at a reasonable cost to the Santa Clarita Valley. www.clwa.org
About the City of Santa Clarita: Located in Los Angeles County, 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles nestled between the San Gabriel Mountain Range to the east and the Santa Susana Mountain Range to the west. Since its incorporation in 1987, the City of Santa Clarita has established itself as a healthy, vibrant and thriving place to live, work and play. The City of Santa Clarita encompasses the communities of Canyon Country, Newhall, Saugus and Valencia. The City provides services for a population over 200,000 residents within a 52-square-mile area.
About Los Angeles County Waterworks District #36: Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts (LACWD) is a network of public water systems formed pursuant to Division 16, County Waterworks Districts of the California Water Code. LACWD currently provides retail water service to five County Waterworks Districts. District #36, Val Verde, serves a population of about 4,650 people through 1,320 connections in a portion of the Santa Clarita Valley. www.lacwaterworks.org
About Newhall County Water District: Newhall County Water District, created in 1953, is one of four water purveyors in the Santa Clarita Valley and currently supplies a population of more than 30,000 with over 9,500 service connections. Governed by a five-member Board of Directors, elected at large by residents of the district, its 34-square mile service area includes four distinct geographical areas in the valley — Pinetree, Newhall, Tesoro and Castaic. www.ncwd.org
About Santa Clarita Water Division: Santa Clarita Water is a division of the Castaic Lake Water Agency (SCWD). SCWD is a water retailer that serves approximately 124,000 people with over 28,000 connections in portions of the City of Santa Clarita in the communities of Canyon Country, Newhall and Saugus and unincorporated portions of Los Angeles County. SCWD supplies water from local groundwater sources and CLWA imported water. www.scwater.org
About Valencia Water Company: Valencia Water Company (Valencia) serves approximately 113,000 people in the Santa Clarita Valley, including Valencia, Stevenson Ranch, and portions of Newhall, Saugus and Castaic. Valencia supplies its customers with high-quality water supplied from local wells and from imported supplies. Valencia is an investor-owned water utility regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state agency charged with regulatory oversight of investor owned utilities in California. www.valenciawater.com