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Our View: Conserving a precious resource

Posted: February 23, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 23, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Pay attention, folks. This is getting serious.

Water, its availability, and its uses, have always been the No. 1 perennial issue in the Golden State.

Fish, farmers, residents and businesses continually argue over what the appropriate share for each should be.

The current drought is shifting the discussion from “How much?” to “If.”

We are currently in the most severe drought since the 1970s and one of the most severe in recorded history.

Concerned stakeholders at the state level are discussing and vetting the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan and Gov. Jerry Brown’s $687 million Drought Relief Package.

Local purveyors are working on conservation plans, usage restrictions, enforcement and penalty regulations to address anticipated future shortages.

It is not too complicated. We can see what is coming if there is no significant precipitation relief.

Rationing is in our future. When we run out of water, the consequences to everyday life in California will be dire.

It is not like the Fed — We can’t print more water like they can money.

A big part of the solution to our immediate problems lies with you, with all of us.

A significant part of our water usage is behavioral: How we use it, not just what we use it for.

You can use less water just by making an attempt at it.

Let’s do this individually and together. The gallon that we save today can be the gallon that is available in August or September or next year.

We realize that there are water wasters out there who don’t care, or are myopic, or just don’t want to conserve, but we can’t let them be the reason that we don’t actively participate in the solution to our water supply issues.

Each of us needs to join in contributing to the solution to this potentially catastrophic drought — beginning today.



lars1: Posted: February 24, 2014 10:35 a.m.

The city council members, with the exception of Tim Ben, are extremely arrogant. They belive, since they were elected, they can do whatever they want, ignoring public comment.

ginnyp: Posted: February 24, 2014 10:43 a.m.

It's time for our elected officials to stop approving our ever expanding building plans. Year after year we see approvals for more and more sub-divisions, and within those approvals there is always a statement that there is or will be more than sufficient infrastructure to support the new building. Infrastructure not only means roads and schools, it means water too. The first thing that needs to happen at this point is for a moratorium on all projects currently in the pipeline until we see a change in our water stability. Next we need to have a phone number we can call when we see wasted water use, you know, things like those sprinkle systems that put more water on the sidewalks and gutters than the grass. There are also small steps all of us can take in our day to day activities to help. I remember when we had severe drought conditions in the 1970's and we had restrictions on when we could water our yards, even days = north side, odd days = south sides of the streets. Time limits to 15 minutes. No washing of vehicles, etc. It helped then, it would help now.

CaroleLutness1: Posted: February 24, 2014 11:40 a.m.

Please, please contact the City Council and Board of Supervisors about putting an immediate moratorium on any new development. With this drought showing no signs of abating and our well-closure issue still not resolved, we are in no position to allow tens of thousands of more homes to be build here. As Bob Kellar would say, "Folks, folks, this is serious!"

stray: Posted: February 24, 2014 12:38 p.m.

I concur with all three posters comments.

I believe that development is a positive thing when the time and place permits it. That is, with the severity of our drought which has been in effect for years now, this is not the time to build. I understand that nobody can predict the future, but this drought is the worst California has ever seen. Other states, like Nevada, has had and still has drought problems also, but their municipalities have taken appropriate steps years ago. They have encouraged drought resistant landscape, while encouraging red rock and other esthetic measures for front yards. When is Santa Clarita going to jump on the band wagon ??? How many golf courses does Santa Clarita residents need ??? Oh, my bad, I guess that would hinder huge property tax revenues into the county! It proves that money talks and that's all that matters anymore... I guess suggesting that we use less water condones new proposals for new development. How 'bout we take care of us first, then promote development when we are out of serious drought conditions! Farmers cannot even water their farms!

davenscv: Posted: February 24, 2014 12:43 p.m.

The politicos talk about a tunnel to bring water from the north, but the drought extends up above the watershed that feeds the Sacramento delta. My home owners association (HOA) mandates a front lawn, and yet, an English style lawn is totally foreign to our local environment and is water use intensive. For years jurisdictions in New Mexico and Nevada have required developers to go into existing structures and retrofit with low use toilets and other water savings before approving new construction. But our elected officials have consistently approved new construction and stated that 'the water was there'; despite warnings from environmentalists and local activists and despite spreading contamination of our underground water due to contaminated industrial sites like the Whittaker-Bermite site, which is still waiting clean up.

Aristotle: Posted: February 24, 2014 4:52 p.m.

While Santa Clarita's City Council is repeatedly clubbed for approving new residential developments, even though there is not enough water for them, the far bigger culprits are the LA County Board of Supervisors. The Supes, 4 of whom are not elected by Santa Claritans, have approved the lion's share of new housing on land north, east and west of the city.

It would be interesting if The Signal could give readers a chart of "approved but unbuilt" in 3 categories: housing units, commercial buildings and industrial developments, both in the City and in the surrounding County.

Back in the 1990's Santa Barbara and Goleta had moratoriums against new developments being connected to their scarce water supply. Those moratoriums held up despite legal attacks by vacant land owners and small time builders.

Around the same time other cities had moratoriums against new developments being connected to their scarce water supplies. Some of those moratoriums didn't hold up so well because the Building Industry Assn. manipulated the Legislature into "restricting moratoriums".

In 2004 a conservative majority of the Board of Newhall County Water District voted for a new water connection moratorium, to give them time to evaluate just how reliable their water supply is, especially given the fact that at least one of their drinking water wells was permanently closed due to contamination from Bermite. As a result SunCal, funded by its money partner a Lehman Brothers investment fund, filed a lawsuit against the Newhall County Water District. Ultimately the lawsuit was withdrawn and the moratorium was rescinded.

Subsequently, the SunCal/Lehman entity went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and a not-bankrupt Lehman Brothers entity obtained ownership of the "Northlake" property through the Chapter 11 Plan. The new Lehman Brothers entity owner said that they were going to "market" the Northlake property.

If the residential real estate development business begins to boom, while the Santa Clarita Valley's water supply continues to be constrained, another conflict between the rights of current water supply customers vs. the claims of owners of to-be-built real estate development projects will drain taxpayer dollars to resolve those issues.

The view of the "building industry" and real estate development project investors (often funds managed by "Wall Street investment banks") is that they have rights to use drinking water which are equal to those of each existing homeowner. In their view each homeowner must spend his own money to convert to drip irrigation and to drought tolerant plants and landscape rocks, so that the "industry" can continue to recoup its investment in land and earn income from building.

The investment/building industry's lobbyists are working the halls of the California Legislature every day. Homeowners, who will be asked to spend their own money to accommodate those investors and industries needs, have no lobbyists.

projalice11: Posted: February 24, 2014 6:21 p.m.

"Each of us needs to join in contributing to the solution to this potentially catastrophic drought — beginning today."

Let's take it upon ourselves to conserve water in any way that we can ??

17trillion: Posted: March 3, 2014 11:11 a.m.

"Please, please contact the City Council and Board of Supervisors about putting an immediate moratorium on any new development"

The arrogance of this "person" never ceases to amaze me. Who the hell are you to dictate what another does with their own property?

"Let's take it upon ourselves to conserve water in any way that we can ??"

In your honor, I left my sprinklers on all weekend Lois. I could care less about wasting water when we waste billions of gallons every year into the Pacific ocean. When and if we solve that stupidity, then I might get on board with cutting down my own use. Until that time, I think I'll go home and wash my car and just leave the hose running.

Face it folks, the so called drought is for the little people. Do you think the millionaires in Malibu give a flying f--- about saving water?

technologist: Posted: April 7, 2014 4:33 p.m.

Yesterday, I upgraded my system with a weather sensing irrigation controller. Settings are adjusted for zip code/latitude, soil type, slope º, turf & plant type, etc.

I run a "smart" home for monetary efficiency. Does the City run landscape irrigation when it rains?

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