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Yard-watering restrictions in effect throughout SCV

Posted: August 15, 2014 7:18 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2014 7:18 p.m.

A month after a state water control agency imposed curbs on residential water use, all of the Santa Clarita Valley’s water providers now have adopted mandatory restrictions limiting when residents can water their lawns.

In separate actions taken this week, boards of directors for the Santa Clarita Valley Water Division, Valencia Water Co. and Newhall County Water District, as well as the Los Angeles County Waterworks District that serves Via Verde, all adopted the same mandatory restrictions on watering yards.

Between now and October, residents with odd-numbered addresses can water lawns on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Residents with even-numbered addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

During the cooler-weather months — November through March — residents will be able to water their yards just two days a week. They will be Monday and Thursday for odd-numbered addresses and Tuesday and Friday for even-numbered addresses.

The restrictions take effect immediately.

At its meeting Friday, Valencia Water Co.’s board became the last local water agency to approve the schedule for its 31,000 customers, meaning that every water retailer in the SCV now has yard-watering rules.

It marks the first time that a mandatory schedule for yard watering has been imposed valleywide.

The schedule is part of the Water Action Plan approved Tuesday by the Santa Clarita Valley Water Committee, an umbrella group of the SCV’s water purveyors.

“All of the local water purveyors now are on the same page,” said Keith Abercrombie, Valencia Water Co.’s general manager.

Local water boards, however, have approved differing exemptions for their customers. For instance, directors of the Newhall County Water District approved three exemptions at their meeting Thursday.

Along with exempting residents who use potable water for “trees and gardens grown for personal food consumption,” Newhall’s irrigation rules also exclude from the yard-watering schedule people who hand-water their yards.

Board members also put a limit of $5,000 on fines for violators, and added a time limit to their regulations, which now will expire in May 2015.

Most of the local water retailers also provided an exemption for those who can prove they’ve reduced their water consumption by 20 percent this year compared to last. Exemptions also are made for resident who recently installed new lawns or vegetation.

Residents need to apply for the exemptions directly to their water company.

The schedule for yard watering goes hand in hand with state regulations handed down July 15 by the California Water Resources Control Board. They are:

— Watering landscapes to the point that it causes runoff to adjacent property, sidewalks, streets and other areas.

— Using drinking water to wash sidewalks and driveways.

— Using a hose to wash a vehicle unless the hose has a shut-off nozzle.

— Using drinking water in an ornamental fountain unless the water is recirculated.

State conservation measures come with fines up to $500 a day for repeat offenders.

The California Water Resources Control Board charged local water agencies with enforcing the new regulations. Abercrombie said SCV water agencies are also on the same page when it comes to enforcement.

Rather than hiring people to patrol neighborhoods for water-wasters, local water officials hope customers will police themselves and report instances of violations.

“No one wants to be in that position,” Abercrombie said, of having to hire “water cops” to enforce the regulations.

“None of us are staffed to have people waking around and checking,” Abercrombie said. “When people report seeing something broken, like a broken sprinkler head, that’s helpful.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




newsreader1965: Posted: August 15, 2014 11:14 p.m.

How can these regulations be put in place until all customers are notified by mail?

JJman: Posted: August 15, 2014 11:42 p.m.

Only political dumbarses would vote something in as immediately.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 16, 2014 1:02 a.m.

Newsreader1965, THANK YOU! That's what I've been saying. We haven't received one single piece of paper from Valencia Water Co. I believe the majority of people do not read, watch or listen to, any news/media outlets. I don't see how they can enforce anything at all until they've repeatedly notified their customers via mail and possibly even by phone messages.

lars1: Posted: August 16, 2014 1:42 a.m.

99% of the people will ignore this idiotic bs regulation.



I seem to remember that santa clarita water had an armed guard at their office to confront angry customers. the water companies better hire additional armed guards to hand out $5000 fines to angry customers.

missyJk: Posted: August 16, 2014 2:43 a.m.

they have to notify everyone...and what? they arent going to police so are neighbors going to be videotaping each other what proof is it that it will be that day...what a water bill for my house is about $25 bucks a month i think that qualifies me to water whenever the heck i want

confusedbrit: Posted: August 16, 2014 9:36 a.m.

Have just looked at VWC's website - guess what? No information that they approved this schedule, just general information posted on the 12th August citing the SCV Water Committee's Action Plan to Conserve Water, dated July 15th. I guess we'll have to wait another month before they notify their customers of this decision!

Nitsho: Posted: August 16, 2014 10:09 a.m.

Screw this . Stupid nanny state bs.

kimlistening: Posted: August 16, 2014 12:13 p.m.

Well, thank you for posting this info, but we really should be hearing from the water companies. Also, this morning as I took my long walk, I noticed that the huge grass area of the park inside our HOA was watered today--am I wrong or are Saturdays a "Don't Water Day" all throughout Santa Clarita? So, I'm thinking neighbors will become enemies yelping on each other because there is no real enforcement. There should be a better way to get people to conserve such as having someone from the city or water co. doing checks--which also include checking up on parks etc...

zra: Posted: August 16, 2014 12:32 p.m.

Ive explained to the forum before that my watering system adds one inch of water and then allows that to evaporate off using evapotranspiration for Santa Clarita. My sprinklers have been running about once every 4 days during this hot summer. As we move into the cooler months it'll be even less. But when the day comes to water I dont care what day it is the sprinklers are going to run.

The first time I get a warning or even a fine, I'm going to start running my sprinklers on every day that it's "permissible." This will effectively double my water usage from what I'm currently doing.

Go ahead regulators make my day.

bobforte: Posted: August 16, 2014 1:17 p.m.

MY sprinklers were on today. No fine received.

Phenics: Posted: August 16, 2014 3:46 p.m.

I strongly second lars1's caps.

momtwice: Posted: August 16, 2014 10:16 p.m.

Such first world tyranny.

It's not a bad idea to save our resources. I don't mind and I hope my HOA gets behind this.

cj64: Posted: August 16, 2014 11:47 p.m.

What about the new 20,000 home Newhall Ranch Development?
What about the City's center median landscaping?
That landscaping paid back the landscape contractors campaign contributions to Weste and Mclean.

oldman: Posted: August 17, 2014 10:12 a.m.

What about the new 20,000 home Newhall Ranch Development and the thousand upon thousand gallons of water used during grading for dust control before even a single foundation is poured.

stray: Posted: August 17, 2014 11:07 a.m.

@oldman - "What about the thousand upon thousand gallons of water used during grading for dust control"

Totally agreed! And what about ALL THE WATER needed during the upcoming fires when the Santa Ana winds arrive ??? The city council doesn't ever look ahead and plan accordingly, but they keep on promoting the developers to build, build, build! Leave it to our city council grannies - yep, just keep on letting developers build because they funded your campaigns!


bobforte: Posted: August 17, 2014 11:07 a.m.

Momtwice: To make sure your HOA complies, call the water agency to report them. They are not exempt. My HOA's sprinklers go on everyday, twice a day.

I have already contacted the water agency and the management company. With the high amount of fees we pay these landscape companies, they should come out automatically to adjust the timers.

kimlistening: Posted: August 17, 2014 12:41 p.m.

I agree with everyone. We should conserve water. However, don't make us police each other. Make a GOOD plan so that it is successful. And, yes, make sure everyone is conserving including the HOA's etc...

confusedbrit: Posted: August 17, 2014 12:57 p.m.

It was interesting driving through the City last night - multiple medians, parks, car dealerships, rental properties and businesses as well as residencies watering to their hearts' content! Looks like the whole thing is a wash!!

chefgirl358: Posted: August 17, 2014 1:25 p.m.

At least 4 people on my street watered lawns yesterday, including me. My HOA watered throughout and on a walk through Bridgeport Sat night, they were watering medians and strips of grass to their hearts content. This is so stupid.

AWB: Posted: August 17, 2014 1:43 p.m.

Why would anyone take these measures seriously until the City and County halts new building permits and the water companies stop making new water connections?

devildawg: Posted: August 17, 2014 1:56 p.m.

Our HOA run by Crown Management is the worst offender in our whole community. They (or whoever they have hired to do the job) consistently over-water the hillsides and common areas. The water runs down the streets and down the hills into the gutters. The water runs so much everyday that there is algae and moss growing along the entire paths of water down every street. My wife and I have investigated this continually on our walks and its always coming from the hillside watering systems or the common areas - not other home-owners.

ohhyaa: Posted: August 17, 2014 10:21 p.m.

Confusedbrit, I noticed the Totota dealership with their water feature full, just down the street from City Hall. To add to your list, Santa Clarita Elementary School, Bridgeport fish sculpture water feature, Bridgeport Market place and Valencia Library.

SReilly12: Posted: August 18, 2014 1:29 a.m.

It's the frigg'n summer, people are still on vacations. They need to notify people via the mail. The peeps in charge are a bunch of clueless twits in my book!

cj64: Posted: August 18, 2014 2:16 p.m.

The following businesses and government agencies are big water customers and do not have to do anything.

Toyota dealer, Bridgeport Marketplace, Bridgeport lakes, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Water features at nearly every HOA townhouse/condo/apartment development, all golf courses, all city center media landscaping, all city parks, etc.
These are watered or require water many times each and every day.

johnnyrock: Posted: August 18, 2014 2:37 p.m.

The apartment I live in waters EVERY morning.....and a few of the sprinklers are broken, so it wastes alot.....

MariaGF: Posted: August 18, 2014 11:05 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!

kimlistening: Posted: August 19, 2014 2:51 p.m.

Yes, but how will violators be found? We have to yelp on our neighbors? That is the worst part of this plan. No matter what info comes in the mail from the water companies, I will not have respect for anyone who has that kind of a plan. Maybe the water companies should have beat the media to inform customers to begin with. That would have kept many from being angry and frustrated.

chefgirl358: Posted: August 19, 2014 3:04 p.m.

I received my $70 water bill yesterday from Valencia Water Company. There wasn't ONE single word in there, no flier, pamphlet, NOTHING, about the alleged rules of water conservation. Water here is cheap, and it should be because it's total crap. It's the worst water I've ever seen with the mineral deposits and god only knows how contaminated some of it actually is. I will continue to water when and what I choose inside my house and out because we receive water, because we pay for it. It's not an allottment based system, it's a pay for a goods and services system, and I pay for it. If they want me to use less water, they should charge 3 times as much or create an allotment. And until the city stops approving large scale building projects for 20,000 homes, plus Fort Tejon, etc., and adding water features and medians replete with trees and sprinklers, I will do whatever I please.

Bottom line is, residential water use accounts for LESS than 20% of ALL water usage, nothing we do is really going to make a darn bit of difference. Agricultural use is the vast majority, and if you want residential usage to go down...STOP BUILDING HOMES!!! We have too many people! There are not infinite resources. We grow more food because we need to feed more people and on and on and on. Stop trying to grow our cities and state.

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