Santa Clarita Water Division Moves To Two-Day Watering Schedule -- June 12, 2015

Local water officials approved new restrictions and an updated watering schedule for the Santa Clarita Water Division in their effort to reach the governor’s water conservation mandates due to the state’s drought.

SCWD officials announced the move to a two-day watering schedule, updated fines and restrictions Wednesday as part of Ordinance 43, officials said.

The new watering schedule for the SCWD residents and businesses goes from three days per week to two days per week, with odd addresses watering on Monday and Thursday, and even addresses watering on Tuesday and Friday.

If residents of businesses violate the new restrictions and watering schedule, a fine system is in place. A violator written notice response at first, followed by a notice of non-compliance and fine of $50 per violation for the second violation, according to the news release.

Residents and businesses in the SCWD have new restrictions including, according to a news release sent out by the SCWD:

  • Irrigating outdoor lawns, turfs and landscapes in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, and or/structures.
  • The application of potable water to driveways, sidewalks, and other hardscape.
  • Failure to repair a leak within 24 hours of detection or notification.
  • Irrigating outdoor lawns, turf, or vegetated area of landscape during and within 48 hours following measurable precipitation.
  • The use of a hose to wash a motor vehicle without an automatic shut-off nozzle.
  • Non-recirculating fountains and decorative features.
  • Irrigating outdoor lawns, turf, landscape or other vegetated area during the hours of 9:00 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Irrigating outdoor lawns, turf, landscape, or other vegetated area using a landscape irrigation system for more than 10 minutes per station per day.

The third violation includes a notice of non-compliance, fine of $100 per violation the SCWD may install a flow restrictor at the customer’s expense, according to the news release. Subsequent violations will increase the fine by $100 per day up to a maximum of $500 per day with the SCWD shutting off water service for “willful violations.”

“The State Water Resources Control Board enacted mandatory water conservation (in May) for all the water retailers across the state including the Valencia, Santa Clarita and Newhall retailers,” said Dirk Marks, CLWA water resources manager. “Santa Clarita Water Division has to conserve 32 percent compared to 2013.”

The SCWD is not the only water retailer in the Santa Clarita Valley to be mandated to conserve more, the Newhall County Water District is required to save 28 percent while the Valencia Water Company is required to save 24 percent.

Between 2013 and June 2014- February 2015 totals, the Castaic Lake Water Agency and Santa Clarita Water Division reduced water usage by 12 percent, the Valencia Water Company reduced water usage by 13 percent and the Newhall County Water District reduced water usage by 11 percent, according to the state’s Water Resources Control Board.

“The individual water retailers could pay a fine of up to $10,000 if they do not reach their conservation mandate by February 2016,” said CLWA General Manager Dan Masnada. “That would be recovered from ratepayers. We want to avoid that. Paying for a service is one thing but paying penalties, it’s like a speeding ticket and no one wants to pay a speeding ticket.”

For now, the SCWD, which is owned by the CLWA, is the only water retailer to adopt the new ordinance.

The Los Angeles County Public Works Waterworks Districts 36 and 37 which represent Val Verde and Acton adopted a similar plan to the ordinance June 8, according to their website. They must must limit lawn watering, landscape or other turf area with water supplied by the District to any two days per week maximum.

The NCWD officials hope that by working more directly with their consumers and providing education, they can avoid further reducing the number of water days and implementing updated fines, said B.J. Atkins, director of the NCWD.

“The NCWD (Thursday) made the decision to stay at three days per week, our customer base is doing quite well at conserving already,” Atkins said, adding that they are working with an “education process as opposed to regulations.”

The VWC officials have not made their decision of whether to adopt the ordinance, create their own plan or stick with the current watering schedule and regulations.

“Our board hasn’t made that decision official, yet. We will be looking at that next week,” said Keith Abercrombie, VWC general manager. “I will be requesting and recommending to change for lawn watering from three days to two days. Our plan will have some of the similar items in it (as Ordinance 43), including all of the latest round of requirements by the governor and the state.”

“We’re all in this together,” said Mauricio Guardado, chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee and retail manager for the SCWD.  “Water conservation is not something that’s voluntary anymore. I really encourage people to understand what this means — if everybody does their part, we can keep rates where they are, nobody gets penalization and we conserve our precious resource.”