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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.
On Twitter


missyJk: Posted: August 13, 2014 1:23 p.m.

what about those of us who have conserved all along on our bills and can prove it they better not try to fine us

bobforte: Posted: August 13, 2014 4:16 p.m.

Sprinklers on at 1am now. Doubt the water police will be out at that hour.

confusedbrit: Posted: August 13, 2014 9:07 p.m.

I agree with missyjk. I have always been classed as a "super-efficient" water user, both indoors & out. How do I save 20% on already such efficient usage? I haven't read anything about HOAs having to limit their watering. What about water guzzling businesses? It's always the high tax paying home owners that are penalized.

stray: Posted: August 13, 2014 9:10 p.m.

If this becomes enforceable, I am wondering about properties that are rented. If I were to own a rental house and I cover the water bill in the rental agreement, who would receive the "ticket" ??? If my renter is abusing the rules and watering on the wrong day, does the property owner or the renter receive the "ticket" ??? I'm assuming that the person who has the water bill in their name gets the "ticket" - so the renter is immune from the fine.

If that scenario was mine, I would immediately compel the renter to put the water bill in their name and amend the rental agreement lease. Then, I would credit the renter for "x" amount of money towards their rental payment. I would think that around $60.00 is a fair credit during July thru October...

Anybody know if the property owner get's stiffed - especially if the "ticket" goes unpaid, and the property is then liened for that amount... Just curious...

MarkD: Posted: August 13, 2014 9:54 p.m.

Water conservation should be based on actual usage measured at the meter not an arbitrary time-table restriction. The water companies already use a tiered system calculated for each property based on lot size. Penalties should be progressively harsher for excessive use based on the tiered system.
The proposed exemption for 20% reduction in the last year doesn't account for the actual amount being used. I think we need to reassess our basic aesthetics. We live in a desert chaparral environment but design our landscapes like we live in New England. We really need to reduce the abundant use of turf. California native and other drought tolerant plants are a great alternative.

Cub527Mom: Posted: August 13, 2014 10:28 p.m.

I'm there with you, missyJk and confusedBrit: we've always been low water users, and I'm finding it hard to cut down our consumption by an additional 20%. Currently, the only way I can further decrease my water usage is to follow the rule 'If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down'...

castaicjack: Posted: August 13, 2014 11:48 p.m.

Not to mention permanent exemptions for allowance on 20,000 homes off the 126, another 1000 plus in Castaic and another 20,000 off I5 near Gorman. Don't forget to vote for the multi-billion dollar water bond coming your way in November so you can pay for all of it and remember, "it's for the kids!"...

Rocketeer: Posted: August 14, 2014 2:47 a.m.

"Water conservation should be based on actual usage measured at the meter..."

Hahaha, so YOU are going to try to introduce common sense to Earth?! If we were to follow your advice, that would in no way penalize people who have always been water wise. That's indefensible!

Only those who previously used a ridiculous amount of water and grudgingly fixed a few leaky faucets should be rewarded. That's the modern way.

ricketzz: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:14 a.m.

I continue to bubble and dribble.

Heisenberg: Posted: August 15, 2014 8:58 a.m.

The water agencies might consider venturing forth and securing additional supplies, think of the money saved in conservation advertising and cost of policing water users.

veggietreegirl: Posted: August 15, 2014 4:44 p.m.

Glad to see edible gardens are not restricted. I don't have any grass in my yard, just a small garden and a couple trees. I was worried about being able to water my edible garden as we rely on it for food.

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