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Setting the record straight on some drought misinformation

Posted: August 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.

The state’s emergency drought regulations (watering-day restrictions and more) happened before local water agencies could adequately inform customers of which regulations apply to them.

While water agencies are still developing outreach, I wanted to address some prevalent misinformation. Although I am vice president of Newhall County Water District, I am speaking on my own behalf only in a non-official capacity.

First, the state Water Resources Control Board forced this regulation upon local water retail agencies. Enforcement is only through local agencies, and there are no funds for patrols.

So unfortunately, it is based on citizen reporting.

The city and county have no enforcement authority.

Water agencies were allowed some leeway, so we have all allowed a 20 percent reduction over last year as an alternative to watering-day restrictions.

We also have additional hardship exemptions such as for new plantings and fire zones.

Education and corrective action are greatly preferred over penalties. We hope to work with large water users to get success stories, rather than irritating homeowners for little gain.

The rules will apply to all customer classes including government agencies, schools, businesses and HOAs.
While the state dictated an immediate Aug. 1 effective date, water retailers’ boards had not even met by that point, so there will be understanding and assistance — not penalties while customers are being informed.

Lastly, I personally hope this is a two-way street and want our agencies to document what and who can cut back, and when arbitrary rules prove ineffective, so it can inform policy going forward.

Contact your water retail agency — Newhall County Water, Santa Clarita Water, Valencia Water, or District 36 — with questions and feedback.


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