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Santa Clarita Water Division approved watering schedule

Posted: August 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 14, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Watering your lawn every other day and never on Saturday’s became a locally-enforced ordinance Thursday night for Santa Clarita Valley residents who get their water from the Santa Clarita Water Division.

After a lengthy board meeting — with board members complaining about the hardship of maintaining their own green lawns on a limited watering schedule — they voted to endorse a resolution calling for a watering scheduling designed to meet state mandated water regulations.

Eight board members voted in favor of the three-day weekly watering schedule, Ed Colley voted against it and B.J. Atkins abstained.

In the end, despite reservations and fears of Santa Clarita Valley having brown lawns due tolimited watering, board members of the Castaic Lake Water Agency (who serve also as board members of the SCWD) voted in favor of a plan to meet state water demands.

The vote to adopt water restrictions as proposed by the Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee late last month was passed with one consideration — that the list of exemptions for people told to water only three days a week be expanded.

“Other people’s concerns that they’re going to lose their lawn with a three-day watering schedule are valid,” said Colley. “I hope we include more liberal exemptions to include those folks who can demonstrate their commitment to conserving water.”

Board member Bob DiPrimio said: “I think people will lose their lawns and I’m concerned about those residents losing their lawns.”

DiPrimio asked SCWD’s Retail Manager Mauricio Guardado Jr. about the option of just asking people to conserve water.

“We’ve tried that it doesn’t work,” Guardado said.

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.

On Thursday, the board of directors for the Newhall County Water District and the Valencia Water Company are scheduled to vote on a similar ordinance.
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bobforte: Posted: August 14, 2014 9:56 a.m.

DiPrimio asked SCWD’s Retail Manager Mauricio Guardado Jr. about the option of just asking people to conserve water.

“We’ve tried that it doesn’t work,” Guardado said.

It doesn't work because when city officials keep installing more landscaping on the streets and more grass everywhere, it is hard to believe there is a drought. When Caltrans is installing new landscaping on the 210, it is hard to believe there is a drought. When L.A. City approves a large water slide event downtown that will use over 20000 gallons of water, it is hard to believe there is a drought.

I will continue to water my lawn when I want. I have reduced the days already, but will just water longer. Until I see hard proof that there is an emergency, then I will be a little more serious.

Let's see the city let the medians go brown first, then maybe people will be serious.

ohhyaa: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:32 a.m.

I'm a SCWD resident and just this week they changed the hillside sprinklers to water at 3 am (it wakes me up) instead of 7 am. Guess what? They still come on every day. Good luck reprogramming the antiquated controls to cycle every other day and never on Saturday. No doubt they will be the biggest offenders of the restrictions. At this point I'm not changing anything, since I'm not the problem.

ohhyaa: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:37 a.m.

Correction: "they" being the city since maintaining the hillside is part of the SPECIAL ASSESSMENT I PAY IN MY PROPERTY TAXES. I wonder if my taxes will go down. lol.

Vtown123: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:39 a.m.

Turning on sprinklers for longer periods of time will just cause more runoff. The soil can only absorb so much water...

Baddog1: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:57 a.m.

Get ready for more broken water mains.

Phenics: Posted: August 14, 2014 12:20 p.m.

Completely thoughtless and idiotic ordinance. We should want greenery. The movie Wall-E has come to mind of late where the mission is to save this one little plant. So what this ordinance does is kill plants and lawns and moves us closer to plastic nature. I'm completely redundant with this but my lawn watering is far less impactful than the people who will occupy the thousands of homes being built or are scheduled to be built in Santa Clarita (even more in the state). A moratorium on home building will accomplish a lot more. Sadly, I get the feeling like I want to leave California now but my conflict is wanting my son to go through school in the same system until he graduates. It's too bad we have to rely on thoughtless followers to make decisions.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 14, 2014 12:43 p.m.

This is SO stupid. So I could water all of my cars, do 58 loads of laundry and run the dishwasher all day long, and turn on every faucet inside my home, but god forbid I run my sprinklers for 10 minutes? Seriously? Um, no.

People could be using scads of water inside their homes but the city is going to focus on some little narrow minded senseless item, as usual.

If they want people to conserve more water, then it needs to be based on an allotment system. Currently, I pay to use as much water as I want to. Residential use makes up only 15% of all water consumption. We are NOT the primary problem.

Phenics: Posted: August 14, 2014 1:17 p.m.

I agree. The consumption system is best. This is the smartest approach (in addition to a moratorium on housing development) because it captures all the unseen water consumption. Analyze the data, set a benchmark average over which there are varying levels of rate increases. If I want to use more water than I should it will cost me but that's my decision. The actions of adults are effectively managed through the pocket book. Not in the silly "I'm gonna catch you and charge you $500" sense, but through the bill. Moreover, this accomplishes the goal of reduced water usage which is the purpose! Otherwise I'll just water heavy on the days I'm allowed which would have a net zero effect on the goal. Unfortunately, this alternative path takes work and evaluation periods to implement it correctly but why do that when they could just do something simple and say they've taken action? Who wants to actually work and have the patience to take the time required to implement something effective when they don't have to? We need better parents of the system.

Unreal: Posted: August 14, 2014 1:23 p.m.

Unless your neighbors rat you out you can still water the backyard.

SReilly12: Posted: August 14, 2014 2:14 p.m.

We should be building reservoirs not pushing some bullet train!

bobforte: Posted: August 14, 2014 2:36 p.m.

If I wash my car on my lawn am I violating the rules?

Greenone: Posted: August 14, 2014 2:54 p.m.

This link will answer most questions.

One thing that they have not address is properties that have Smart Weather Based Controllers for landscape watering.

norcal: Posted: August 14, 2014 3:42 p.m.

I'm from Northern California and live in an area where we are only able to water our lawns twice a week. My lawn is still green because I water 4 times per day on the the watering days. My sprinklers start at 2am and are finished before 7am. Each station only runs 5 minutes per cycle. Why isn't Southern Cal following these same restrictions? Doesn't your water come from Northern Cal anyway?

missyJk: Posted: August 14, 2014 3:54 p.m.

are our taxes going to go down since the hillsides wont be green...doesnt this possibly pose a fire danger? i manually do my watering i was always afraid of sprinklers going off and not stopping and flooding so while i have sprinklers i do it manually with that said what if i pick my choice of what 3 days not when you say i have to..this isnt Nazi Germany

Phenics: Posted: August 14, 2014 4:15 p.m.

Norcal, what you are saying about watering 4 times a day on those two days underscores the stupidity of the ordinance. That's the point I tried to make by stating that I'll water heavy on the permitted days, which causes a net zero effect in savings. What good does that do? Assuming I understood your post correctly, how about if you watered only 7 times a week instead of 8 but you could only do it once every day? This ordinance does nothing significant towards solving the actual problem which is water conservation. It just seems like there's a shortage of logic somewhere. Gardens are not the problem, consumption is (among other things) and this is best managed through a program of increased charges over a certain allotment.

Rocketeer: Posted: August 14, 2014 5:04 p.m.

The right way to save water is to go to a tiered pricing system, just like we have for power. As with any product, increase the price and you'll reduce demand. Unfortunately, SCWD _dropped_ the tiered system earlier this summer.

It is what it is. Some advice to help people make the best of things: The gear drive sprinklers do the absolute best job of watering your lawn. They dispense drops which sink into the soil rather than a mist which just evaporates.

Also, norcal's advice about watering twice on your alloted days is a good idea.

The new law DOES allow one to water using a bucket, which can be used for small brown patches. It _is_ possible to keep a nice lawn even with these restrictions.

If it wasn't for the Democrats and their opposition to dams and reservoirs in the name of "environmentalism" we'd have a lot more water storage and be less affected by droughts. If it wasn't for their relentless opposition to nuclear power we'd NEVER be affected by drought. Remember when you vote.

norcal: Posted: August 14, 2014 5:43 p.m.

Phenics, most people in Northern California were watering every day or every other day in the summer. When they watered, they would run each cycle for 15 to 20 minutes. So, most were watering at least 80 minutes per week. I am only watering 40 minutes per week. I don't disagree with you at all on the watering every day if you are reducing your watering by at least 25%. Watering for shorter time periods will give you less run off since most if not all of the water is absorbed. We are restricted to only watering on Tuesday and Saturday or Monday and Sunday.

Phenics: Posted: August 14, 2014 7:24 p.m.

Thanks for the clarification, norcal. I'm learning strategies and tactics for how to deal with this by looking at these posts. One question I have is what the benchmark would be for the reduction in watering? One who starts out efficient may not require a reduction. We've got 6 minute cycles on our sprinklers per day. I know neighbors that have their's on 10 minute cycles. So if 10 minutes is the benchmark no further reduction would be required by me. If I do 4 minute cycles, which is possible, then that's even more reduction. Regardless, I don't want to get away from the point that this is not an effective tactic for the purpose and there are much better options in tiered pricing, a moratorium on home building (people require more water than gardens), money for water conservation reservoirs rather than bullet trains and bait fish protection, etc.

CastaicClay: Posted: August 14, 2014 9:11 p.m.

*If it wasn't for their relentless opposition to nuclear power we'd NEVER be affected by drought. Remember when you vote.*
How does that keep us out of a drought? Are we going to drink the reactor cooling water? Is that the supply that will keep us from EVER being affected by drought? Brilliant!

confusedbrit: Posted: August 14, 2014 10:09 p.m.

What about people with swimming pools & spas? Are there restrictions on them filling those? What about apartment complexes? Will the City comply with these rules in the parks? I somehow doubt it....

stevehw: Posted: August 14, 2014 11:52 p.m.

"The right way to save water is to go to a tiered pricing system, just like we have for power."

Isn't this already the case? Looking at Valencia Water's website, the list the prices per hundred cubic feet by tiers...did that change?

ohhyaa: Posted: August 15, 2014 9:59 a.m.

Steve. More than one water district in SCV. SCWD, the one in this article does not have a tiered system.

stevehw: Posted: August 15, 2014 5:20 p.m.

Ah...didn't know the others didn't have a tiered system. Thanks!

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