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SCV Water Committee imposes non-voluntary water conservation plan

Enforcement would be Stage 2 as water officials seek to deal with worsening drought

Posted: February 4, 2014 5:54 p.m.
Updated: February 4, 2014 5:54 p.m.

Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee Chairman Steve Cole, left, makes notes as Dan Masnada, Castaic Lake Water Agency general manager, right, makes a point to remove the word "voluntary" from the committee's Water Conservation Action Plan approved Tuesday at Santa Clarita City Hall. Signal photo by Dan Watson


Facing a worsening drought statewide, Santa Clarita Valley water officials called on local residents Tuesday to conserve water, unveiling the first phase of a drought action plan.

Members of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee met at City Hall and agreed to proceed with what was initially called the “Voluntary Water Conservation Action Plan” detailing outdoor and indoor water conservation guidelines.

After a bleak assessment of critical water shortages across the state presented by Dirk Marks of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, members called for and immediately agreed to drop the word “voluntary” from their action plan.

However, there is no enforcement of the guidelines. Enforcement would come with a Stage 2 Water Conservation Action Plan.

On Jan. 17, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statewide drought declaration. Steve Cole, general manager of the Newhall County Water District, pointed out Tuesday the drought has “resulted in water supplies that are drastically below normal.”

“The next few months we’re going to know how serious this is,” said Castaic Lake Water Agency General Manager Dan Masnada. The agency supplies water from Northern California to local water retailers, and state officials announced last week there would be no water to ship south this year.

Committee members were presented with a disturbing graphic prepared by Marks showing comparative aerial photographs of Northern California snow packs taken last year and this year.

A shot of fluffy white snow on the tops of the Sierra Nevada mountain range taken Jan. 13, 2013, contrasted starkly with a barren brown photo of the same range taken Jan. 13 this year.

Given the urgency of drought implications, committee members agreed to step up their meetings to once a month beginning immediately.

The Water Conservation Action Plan calls on residents and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley to take reasonable actions to reduce water consumption and eliminate any water-wasting practices.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt



castaicjack: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:07 p.m.

Are they calling on developers to curtail their water usage? Or is that why we are being asked to curtail ours?

Rocketeer: Posted: February 4, 2014 6:20 p.m.

I have a question that maybe someone can answer: My block has a slight incline so when any of the neighbors water their lawn the runoff goes right past my house in the gutter on its way to the storm drain. Is it legal for me to capture that runoff and spray it on my lawn?

I ask because many states have made it illegal to collect rainwater.

UsualSuspect: Posted: February 4, 2014 8:09 p.m.

It is not voluntary, but is not mandatory, and no one is going to enforce it. What a joke, are they going to flip a coin later to decide if they should include the word mandatory? Maybe they should sit down with the Planning Commission, require drought resistant plants in the front yards, limit the amount of grass that is planted, but they should have done that after the last serious drought. Since California has not built any new dams or water storage areas since the last drought, maybe they should have seen another drought in the future? I sometimes wonder if they are planning ahead more than 2-3 seconds, planning does not seem to be their specialty. --edited.

Daveh: Posted: February 4, 2014 8:55 p.m.

Santa Clarita city is the worst offender of overwatering there is, drive past the medium green belt grass strips across from the new metro bus station on Valencia blvd and see the water run off going onto the water damage asphalt road for a good 20 minutes.
Or like this morning going southbound on McBean and having to serve away from the 20 ft gusher coming from the post office lawn.
New home construction landscaping is all drought tolerant plants and sod, yet they water 3 times a day and the new homeowners don't have a clue how to operate the sprinkler controllers.

Castaic Lagoon spent millions on a new boat launch ramp, that turned into a 2 year debacle, it was to make it longer so when the water got low boats could still launch.
But they never did any studies to figure out that putting a boat ramp at the end of a area that when the northwest wind blows the current cause's all the subtraight to be pushed to the other end of the lake and what you have is a 60 ft bowl and the new longer ramp drops off 25 ft at the end of the ramp.
But they won't allow water to be put into the lake because the state water resources says it's not available.
With just a couple of weeks of the wasted water used on the pretty roadway mediums and paseo's the lake could be filled in that short of time.
So soon summer approaches and will have a mud hole, county will loose money because they won't be able to let anyone swim in it and the fish will die off to.
So until gov Brown gets his water tunnel built will all be living in a dust bowl.

ricketzz: Posted: February 5, 2014 6:28 a.m.

The tunnel won't help if there is no water.

Allan_Cameron: Posted: February 5, 2014 6:30 a.m.

It would be helpful if the Signal and other local media reported this fact. We have mandatory water conservation laws on the books now, with criminal penalties for violations.

These laws were placed in effect more than 20 years ago in both City of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County jurisdictions here in the SCV.

When the drought "broke" with the heavy rains called the "March Miracle" in March of 1991, these severe laws were not repealed. Enforcement of them was merely suspended.

The reason for this, as stated at the time was "we will probably need to have such laws 'ready to go' at some time in the future."

It appears that the anticipated future time has arrived.

These strict laws, by the way, were placed in effect 20 plus years ago at the specific request of the Castaic Lake Water Agency.

Anyone may obtain copies of these laws from the City or the County. I have a set.

Also, it was merely 3 months ago that the Castaic Lake Water Agency was actively supporting Sanitation District Chloride Environmental Impact Report Alternative Four, which called for actually giving away, FOR FREE, millions of gallons per day of our precious Deep Saugus Aquifer ground water to limited interests in Ventura County. The justification for this was that we could merely buy more water from the State Water Project (from Castaic Lake Water Agency) to make up for the loss of what was given away. Now, of course, such "State Water" looks to not be available, at any price.

Thoughtful people stated three months ago that this was a scam. Now the proof is available for all to see.

There is still "work" being done "behind the scenes" to steal our ground water.

Perhaps the local media will report on the effort.

chefgirl358: Posted: February 5, 2014 8:48 a.m.

Screw the city! The day they stop approving building projects like the large one they just ok'd for Castaic, complete with water sucking golf courses, putting in medians covered in trees, plants (none of them drought resistant desert plants like they should be) and sprinklers, stop watering golf courses and adding water to developments like Bridgeport and the lake in the shopping center across the street from it, and watering everything in town even while it's pouring rain..then they can talk to me about conserving water. When it did rain this past week, I drove down Newhall Ranch Road and all of the sprinklers were on. Whenever we've had lots of rain, I walk down the paseo and the grass is a waterlogged marsh at that point, but the sprinklers are on!

This article really ticks me off, "The Water Conservation Action Plan calls on residents and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley to take reasonable actions to reduce water consumption and eliminate any water-wasting practices." Why is it all on residents and businesses? Why is none of this, let alone the bulk of it, on the city planning commission or the city council for approving all of the crap they shouldn't have?!

Baddog1: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:36 a.m.

It's incredible that this city is not operating on "Smart Water Controllers" like most everywhere else is. And if they are using them, they are surely not using them correctly. I too see over-watering all over the city. Heal Thyself....

Allan_Cameron: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:49 a.m.

An important note to "chefgirl358". Castaic is not part of the City of Santa Clarita. It is governed by the five supervisors of Los Angeles County as an unincorporated area. The others areas you mention in your commentary are indeed in the City of Santa Clarita.

17trillion: Posted: February 5, 2014 9:56 a.m.

Another important note to chefgirl: what does the city have to do with watering golf courses?

chefgirl358: Posted: February 5, 2014 11:44 a.m.

17, they approve golf courses to be built in the city for starters, just like they approve developments such as Bridgeport and the shopping center with a lake directly across the street from it. If they're going to encourage residents to conserve, shouldn't they first encourage not watering unnecessary golf courses or adding water to hobby lakes in shopping centers? I think so.

bobforte: Posted: February 5, 2014 12:34 p.m.

And chefgirl, the golf course was not approved. It was in the former approval, but the new builder eliminated the golf course in favor of more homes. Read the articles before you post your nonsense.

michael: Posted: February 5, 2014 1:06 p.m.

girl358 you can thank the water agencies for the problem, they are the agency responsible for continuing to say they have the water needed for development. And why wouldn't they, selling water is how they make a living.

CastaicClay: Posted: February 5, 2014 1:16 p.m.

How will this effect the EIR's for the planned housing projects? A rubber stamp with "APPROVED" on them no doubt.

michael: Posted: February 5, 2014 1:26 p.m.

Castaic lake water agency provides water to the valencia water company. Valencia water company is owned by Newhall Development (126), aka the newhall land a farming company. There's more you just have to look.

michael: Posted: February 5, 2014 1:41 p.m. has a mission to improve housing to support economic growth which includes building Newall ranch. The CEO of Newhall land is on the board of the scvedc. The city of Santa Clarita's city manager is on the board as well. With the good old boy network well established in scv and taxpayers funding the scvedc why would you not expect projects to be approved. For the most part it's about make money, and not the water.

stray: Posted: February 5, 2014 1:53 p.m.

"Beginning in 1980, water districts serving more than 3,000 hookups have been required to provide an urban water-management plan with an update every five years.

Castaic Lake Water Agency failed to file a plan for many years. After all, the only penalty was not being able to apply for state grants, and they weren’t applying for that money anyway."

Lack of planning years ago, is partially the blame for today's current crisis. Thanks SC Water District and the City of Santa Clarita!

chefgirl358: Posted: February 5, 2014 2:09 p.m.

Bob, ok so there's now not ANOTHER golf course in the works, but instead a bunch more homes on very large (1 acre) lots. Those big lots won't have any landscaping or sprinklers will they? Talk about nonsense!

projalice11: Posted: February 5, 2014 2:41 p.m.

"The Water Conservation Action Plan calls on residents and businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley to take reasonable actions to reduce water consumption and eliminate any water-wasting practices."

Posting about the present water drought in negative ways is none productive. Just put out a consorted positive effort to help conserve water.

michael: Posted: February 5, 2014 3:09 p.m.

The side of the water issue that some are troubled by are posted to cause planners, developers and those giving approval to take reasonable action and stop and think before more water, water that we do not have, is allocated for growth. Not having the water necessary to grow food because we are hell bent on land development is just stupid. I have no plans to stop watering my lawn and plants or changing my lifestyle for Newhall Land.

ricketzz: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:04 a.m.

Can we use the grey water from the dishwasher and the laundry? I use borax based washing soap.

ohhyaa: Posted: February 6, 2014 7:10 a.m.

Rocketeer, my sister lives in Charlotte. Its common to block their gutters to trap/collect water from the gutter, to re-use on landscaping, since their sewer system includes meters that charge residents based on water that flows into the sewer. It's really crazy since it rains so much and they would pay for that water going down the drain. The other big issue is that all of that standing water creates a terrible mosquito problem.

cj64: Posted: February 6, 2014 7:24 a.m.

...putting in medians covered in trees, plants (none of them drought resistant desert plants like they should be)...
...and watering everything in town even while it's pouring rain..
...When it did rain this past week, I drove down Newhall Ranch Road and all of the sprinklers were on. Whenever we've had lots of rain, I walk down the paseo and the grass is a waterlogged marsh at that point, but the sprinklers are on!.....

bobforte: your comment
....Read the articles before you post your nonsense....

bobforte? where is your stated nonsense?
Everyone has seen the facts of the city's out of place landscaping and the overwatering that occurs everywhere in the city.

What is the new landscaping going into Golden Valley Road north of Sierra Hwy? If you look at the hills surrounding the area, there is plant material that does not require the exhorbitant water of the normal city landscaping.

It is nonsense for the city to put in this out of place landscaping.
Bobforte....Get your facts straight!

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: February 6, 2014 12:52 p.m.

I agree with Chefgirl. This city needs to take a good look in the mirror before telling everyone else to conserve water. I too have seen the amount of water flowing into the street from the post office on McBean as one example. Last summer, you couldn't even use the sidewalk in front of the post office without getting sprayed by the sprinklers.... and they were on EVERY DAY!!

LStaedtler: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:37 p.m.

Water from the post office? The City has nothing to do with grass on property of the post office? Not a city facility and not operated by the City.

City says they use native materials in their medians. Just because they are not cactus does not mean they are not drought resistant.

If you see water on while it is raining, call the City about it. They do have smart controllers on the medians. Maybe there is a malfunction. It depends on you to make the City better. Complaining on here is not going to fix the issue.

ohhyaa: Posted: February 6, 2014 5:56 p.m.

Spoken like a true government employee. It's up to you to make the City better, not the City that's responsible to do so.

castaicjack: Posted: February 6, 2014 7:51 p.m.

ohhyaa: Nice comment/spot-on!

ElizaS: Posted: February 7, 2014 9:51 p.m.

If something is not working correctly such as sprinklers why let it continue. Maybe those in charge are unaware of the problem. But then again maybe you don't want the City to fix things as you would have nothing to complain about.

bbcalvin: Posted: February 7, 2014 9:55 p.m.

ohhyaa and castaicjack: It's called spoken like a true concerned citizen.

castaicjack: Posted: February 7, 2014 11:18 p.m.

Er,ah, it's what should be called our tax dollars at work...

ohhyaa: Posted: February 7, 2014 7:22 a.m.

It's funny how the city has the resources to enforce anything and everything that generates revenue but makes little to no effort doing the rest.

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