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Water officials list some exemptions to drought rules

Some SCV residents may not have to worry about being fined amid possible water restrictions

Posted: August 13, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 13, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Valley residents who have cut their water consumption by 20 percent over the past year will be exempt from watering schedule restrictions — and from the fines they carry, water officials said Tuesday.

Officials representing three of the Santa Clarita Valley’s four water retailers held a meetingat the Castaic Lake Water Agency on Tuesday to update reporters on the statewide drought.

After presenting comparative photographs of a shrinking Castaic Lake, they released a list of mandatory water-saving regulations — along with a list of exemptions that account for “special circumstances.”

Between May and July, the level of water at Castaic Lake dropped 50 feet.

Drought-conscious residents already achieving a 20 percent water savings compared to last year don’t have to worry about following restrictive watering schedules expected to be ratified by water retailers this week.

And, since they’re exempt from adhering to the schedules, they cannot be fined for watering any day of the week.

Late last month, water officials unveiled two proposed landscape-watering schedules — a summer schedule and a winter one — that are expected to be endorsed in the next couple of days by local water agencies charged with enforcing California’s new water-use regulations.

Residents could water their yards only three days a week during the summer schedule — April to October — and two days a week during the winter schedule — November to March. The days of the week would be determined by their addresses.

However, homeowners who can demonstrate through their water bill receipts that they’ve cut usage by 20 percent can water their yards whenever they want, officials said Tuesday.

They can even water on Saturdays — when everyone else is forbidden to do so.

Also exempt are people who irrigate gardens maintained for “personal consumption” and those participating in turf removable programs such as the Lawn Replacement Program offered by the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

And, for water watchers concerned about the extensive irrigation witnessed at local golf courses, water officials revealed Tuesday that they will deal with course owners one-on-one, since they’re such “large accounts.”

The Tournament Players Club at Valencia is irrigated with recycled water.

State officials have their own list of exemptions from water-wasting regulations. The list includes firefighters who use water to maintain fire zones and those using water for health and safety reasons, such as watering down an area of contamination.

As well, city and county officials who use watering trucks to maintain trees are also exempt.

Over the next couple of days, three of Santa Clarita Valley’s four water retailers — Santa Clarita Water Division, Newhall County Water District and Valencia Water Company — are expected to endorse a watering schedule proposed by the Santa Clarita Valley.

All are expected to endorse the watering restrictions.
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