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Newhall County Water District amends watering schedule

District adds three unique changes to drought resolution

Posted: August 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 15, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Anyone who gets their water from Newhall County District Water doesn’t have to worry about the proposed watering schedule as long as they shut off their sprinklers and use a garden hose to water their yards, according a resolution adopted by the District’s board Thursday.

The board endorsed a resolution similar to the one adopted Wednesday by its fellow water retailer — the Santa Clarita Water District — calling for a three-day weekly watering schedule designed to meet state mandated water regulations.

The only big difference to the plan adopted Thursday in Newhall, is that the NCWD plan includes three unique amendments.

The board amended a resolution — which exempts people who use potable water for “trees and gardens grown for personal food consumption” — to include people who hand water their yard.

Board members also passed an amendment that puts a limit of $5,000 for how much a person can be hit with a $500 a day fine.

And, in a third approved amendment, the whole watering schedule “self-destructs” after 270 days of passing which works out to a “self-destruct” date of May 12, 2015.

“We want to make sure this is a carrot instead of a stick,” said District board President B.J. Atkins in closing.

“Our philosophy is to educate people about conserving water,” he said earlier in the night. “We really do not want to be the water police.”

Late last month, water officials unveiled two proposed landscape-watering schedules — a summer schedule and a winter one — that were expected to be endorsed 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.

The plan at the start of Thursday’s NCWD board meeting was for everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley to be on the same watering schedule.

And, aside from the extra leniency awarded Thursday to NCWD customers, everyone is still on the same schedule.

If your home has an odd-numbered address, you can water your lawn only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between now and October.

If you live at an address that has an even number, your allotted watering days are Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Some residents can water their yards any day they want.

If you can prove you are consuming 20 percent less water than you were a year ago, then you are exempt and do not have to worry about the following the restricted water schedule.

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, now, if you’re a NCWD ratepayer, people who hand-water their yard are exempt as well.


on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


ricketzz: Posted: August 15, 2014 9:55 a.m.

I continue to dribble.

This message has been removed due to a violation.

stray: Posted: August 15, 2014 1:10 p.m.

@chefgirl - "What about the people who have NO idea about what these rules are supposed to be?"

Agreed that it will be confusing for residents. I believe that the water districts are required by law to inform the public of the new ruling. I relate that just like a new penal code for driving. I seriously think that authorities have to give a "heads up warning" - verbal or written to inform the citizens of a new ordinance. In this case, the water districts should include a message in their paper bill explaining EXACTLY what is going to be enforced.

Personally, I don't believe anyone can be issued a citation until such time as the residents are fully informed.

17trillion: Posted: August 15, 2014 1:37 p.m.

I have a bill from Valencia water that proves I'm using 20% less than last year, so there ya have it!

bobforte: Posted: August 15, 2014 4:41 p.m.

I filled my pool up last year around this time so I am definitely under 20%

stray: Posted: August 15, 2014 6:16 p.m.

I am pretty sure that most CLWA residents don't subscribe to alerts from the water district. But, I just received this minutes ago in an email. CASTAIC LAKE WATER AGENCY - Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee - Calls for Actions to Conserve Water Supplies

On July 15, 2014, State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) approved an emergency regulation for statewide urban water conservation (intended to reduce outdoor urban water use). The emergency regulation stays in effect for 270 days, unless extended by the State Board due to ongoing drought conditions.

The SCV Water Committee, consistent with the State Board, adopted a Water Conservation Action Plan. The prohibited activities listed in the Action Plan are mandatory.

WATER CONSERVATION ACTION PLAN - This plan establishes water conservation measures to be taken by customers in response to the current drought conditions in California. The following Action Plan measures are mandatory for customers in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Prohibited activities include: Washing any driveways or sidewalks with a hose. Runoff caused by over-irrigating landscape. Washing a motor vehicle using a hose without a shut-off nozzle. Non-recirculating fountains and decorative features.


ThisIsntMe: Posted: August 15, 2014 6:32 p.m.

I truly think this is stupid. Why is Santa Clarita billing us when we don't do the damage? While driving with my parents, we see a new median with non drought-friendly plants all over it (and it's WIDE, too). Also, why is it that I still see sprinklers on pretty much every day around town? Even more, Look at our lawn water usage compared to the rest of the water usage in the SCV? We are a VERY small percentage. Bill the people who are actually wasting water, and not the people who aren't "wasting" at all.

- Jake, an upset 14 y.o. (yes, I know I'm 14 and I shouldn't care about this stuff but still it's that bad it bugs me)

lars1: Posted: August 15, 2014 6:33 p.m.

These fines will be ignored by nearly everyone in santa clarita.
stray, I doubt that there are "water alerts". Not everyone has email/cell
hookup with their water company. the water company does not even have online/phone billing like every other utility(gas,electric,cable).

The water that is used for landscaping eventually goes into the well system of santa clarita. Is'nt this true?
The high fines, $500 to $5000 are a joke. Besides being illegal, they are nothing more than a publicity stunt.
The total residential water use is 20% of the water use in California. savin 20% of that, only amounts to a 4% savings. farming and business account for the other 80%. why is the burden on conservation put on the backs of the taxpayers only? what about the farmers and business?

Next, the water Nazis will make it illegal to shower more than twice a week.

stray: Posted: August 15, 2014 7:58 p.m.

@lars - "I doubt that there are "water alerts"

Sorry, I used the wrong words. Instead, I should have said "email Newsletter updates" instead of saying email alerts...

Here is what CLWA includes in their emails... "If you would like to receive email updates from CLWA use the links below and we’ll be sure to include you in the next mailing."

I find it extremely hard to believe that people will be ticketed; that is, unless they are deliberately running the hose while washing the cars. Other than that, people like myself with my family, we have been extremely careful not to waste water. However, we aren't exactly reducing 20% because our family has expanded... So, without a pool, I don't feel I'm using any more water than a family of 4-6 that has a pool. Either way, we ALL have to do our part to conserve - simply just don't waste water!

chefgirl358: Posted: August 15, 2014 9:56 p.m.

So my comment was removed by the signal for breaking the rules so let me try this again in different verbiage...sorry Signal, I shouldn't have said that.

How are these water districts planning to educate and inform residents about the conservation rules? To date, we haven't received a single piece of paper from Valencia Water District (VWD) informing us of any rules, changes, fines, watering days, etc. the only reason I know any of it is because I see it in The Signal, but I haven't even seen anything in these articles with rules or comments from VWD. I'm sure there are thousands of people locally who do not read the local (or ANY) newspaper or watch the news, the majority of my friends don't, they're totally uninformed about everything (because they find all news negative and depressing which drives me nuts because I think people should still educate themselves on what's happening around them, but whatev!) and I know lots of others are too, so when are these companies going to start putting out information to people?

I have no idea at all what the current rules are for VWD customers. Either way, I'm not worried about it because like I said in another post, I can wash as many loads of laundry per day and dishwasher cycles as I please, I could run the shower or faucets for hours, water my backyard to death, and fill a pool if I had one, and no one would ever know, but god forbid I turn on my front sprinklers on Sat? What the heck kind of logic is that? These rules are so poorly though out and illogical.

My point is, you can do whatever you want IN your house or backyard and no one will ever know, so unless they switch to a water allotment system, I pay to use as much water as I want.

on the plus side, it appears that after years of watering the Creekside post office with enough water each day to house Shamu, someone finally got to them. Their lawn is nearly dead.

ohhyaa: Posted: August 16, 2014 4:10 p.m.

Are the medians odd or even?

kimlistening: Posted: August 17, 2014 2:55 p.m.

Great comments. Exactly, what is the point of the front sprinkler only and use as much water in the back and inside the home? And, why do home-owners have to follow the rules but not the city itself? What about those medians and parks?

MariaGF: Posted: August 18, 2014 11:08 p.m.

I'm on the board of one of the water agencies, Newhall Water, and while this is NOT official agency communication I will say I am personally sorry that we didn't get communication to people faster. This was an emergency mandate from the state. Some of the newspaper articles and Facebook information is incorrect and I have asked that fixing it be a priority. Customers will NOT be fined until they receive information from their retail agency describing what they have to do, and at least for our agency there are a couple warnings first. Contact your retail agency (Newhall Water, Santa Clarita Water, Valencia Water, or District 36) for specifics on what applies to you AND all businesses and governmental accounts in their service area. There are some exemptions (such as fire zones) that you can discuss with your appropriate agency. There will be a rollout period, and water agencies will have to verify and followup on things. Hopefully this will be educational and eliminate the large wasteful leaks even before it gets to penalty point. It is really unfortunate that another unfunded mandate was put on all of us. Any reports will need address, time of day, location, and, if possible, pictures. The agencies will verify and track the issue. I wholeheartedly agree the larger users are where we can see the most conservation gains and everyone needs to be treated fairly. I know at least at NCWD we are happy to take questions by phone or email. Thank you for your interest!

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