|Somebody please call Fritz|
Based on what many of the other cities in the San Gabriel Valley have put into effect, the water use restrictions voted into existence by the City Council of Arcadia are the mildest, meekest and most lenient of any town around here. Here is how NBC LA displays what is either confusion, or perhaps just plain laziness on their part (link).
The Arcadia City Council unanimously backed a mandatory water conservation plan Tuesday night, calling on residents to conserve during the severe drought.
The new prohibitions for the San Gabriel Valley City include:
No hose washing of sidewalks, walkways, driveways, or parking areas
No water can be used to clean, fill, or maintain levels in decorative fountains, unless such water is part of a recycling system
No watering lawn, landscape, or turf areas between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
No watering of lawn, landscape, or turf areas in a wasteful manner
No Arcadia water customer shall permit water to leak from any facilities on his premises
No restaurant, hotel, cafe, cafeteria, or other public place where food is served or offered for sale shall serve drinking water to any customer unless expressly requested by the customer
If residents break the rules they will be subject to a surcharge penalty for water in excess of the base amount supplied to them.
Residents caught breaking the rules three times could see a $100 fine.
The Phase 1 Mandatory Restrictions follows voluntary restrictions that Arcadia residents were asked to follow earlier this year, when they were asked to cut 20 percent of their water supply.
A city report found that residents increased their water usage by one percent. Arcadia has received 60 percent less rain this year than in 2013 and city leaders have proposed the measures to preserve current water supply if current climate conditions drag on.
This is all quite contrary to what has been reported in the Pasadena Star News. Here is how they describe it (link):
The city’s plan isn’t as drastic as measures taken by many other California cities amid the state’s severe drought conditions. In many cities, outdoor watering has been restricted to three days per week.
There is no need for alarm over a potential water shortage in Arcadia, Public Works Services Director Tom Tait said. Groundwater wells provide the city with a reliable system, he said, which has seen the city through many periods of low water availability.
The city is required to adopt a conservation plan following the State Water Resources Control Board’s decision to impose emergency conservation regulations. All city governments in California were required to either enact their own restriction plans or adopt the state’s measures. For that reason, Tait recommended that the City Council implement phase one of the city’s Water Conservation Plan.
Tom Tait's troublesome comment about there being no need to worry about Arcadia's water supply has raised a lot of interest here in Sierra Madre. Until recently we obtained our daily portion from the same sources they do now, yet our usual supplies have run dry while they apparently have no problems whatsoever.
The result being we have been forced to purchase vastly inferior water from the SGVMWD, while at the same time Arcadians are allowed to carry on with only the most minimal of inconveniences.
And while Mr. Tait can claim there is no need to worry about water supplies in Arcadia, and that very little needs to be done, their erstwhile waterwell-mates in the City of Sierra Madre have something quite different going on:
SIERRA MADRE ADOPTS CALIFORNIA STATE WATER USE RESTRICTIONS
On July 15, 2014, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted Emergency Regulation Article X ("Prohibition of Activities and Mandatory Actions During Drought Emergency") pursuant to its authority under Water Code Section 058.5.
On July 22, 2014, the City Council held a duly noticed public hearing to consider the implementation of further mandatory water use prohibitions consistent with the state‐adopted Emergency Regulations of the California State Water Resources Control Board. The City Council action was required under the State regulations.
The following prohibitions are in addition to and separate from the previously adopted 30% water use reduction. Note, however, that the water use prohibitions listed herein may assist the water customer in meeting the 30% reduction goal.
The following water uses are prohibited under Sierra Madre Municipal Code (SMMC) sections 13.24.060 and 13.24.230. Violations of these provisions are subject to administrative citations and fines of up to $500 per violation.
A. There shall be no washing of sidewalks,walkways, patios, driveways, or parking areas by a water hose.
B. No water shall be used to clean, fill or maintain levels in decorative fountains unless such water is part of a recycling system.
C. No restaurant, cafe, deli, or other public place where food is sold, served or offered for sale, shall serve drinking water to any customer unless expressly requested by the customer.
D. No customer of the water department shall permit water to leak from any facility on the premises.
E. No lawn, landscaping, or other turf area shall be watered or irrigated between the hours of ten a.m. and four p.m.
F. No lawn, landscape, or turf area shall be watered in a wasteful manner. Nor shall any water be wasted if the existing conditions may be corrected or reasonably modified.
G. The use of a hose to wash an automobile, except where the hose is fitted with a shut‐off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use.
The following uses of water are prohibited for all water department customers. Violations of this section are subject to administrative citation pursuant to the procedures set forth in SMMC chapter 1.18.
A. If so declared pursuant to a drought or water shortage emergency, in addition to the restrictions set forth in section 13.24.060 (A‐G), no customer shall make, cause, use, or permit the use of water delivered from the water department more than two days per week for purposes of irrigating of lawn, landscape or other vegetated area ("landscape irrigation"):
1. Even‐numbered addresses shall be limited to landscape irrigation on Mondays and Thursdays.
2. Odd‐numbered addresses and addresses ending in fractions shall be limited to landscape irrigation on Tuesdays and Fridays.
B. The restrictions of subsection A above do not apply to landscape irrigation zones that exclusively use very low flow drip type irrigation systems when no emitter produces more than two (2) gallons of water per hour. These restrictions are not applicable to watering or irrigating by use of a hand‐held bucket or similar container, a hand‐held hose equipped with a positive self‐closing water shut‐off nozzle or device, or for very short periods of time for the express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system."
C. Pursuant to State Water Resources Control Board Emergency Rule Article X. Section X.1 and the procedures set forth in Chapter 1.18 ("Administrative penalties") of this code, a violation of Sections 13.24.060 (A, B, F, and G) or 13.24.230 of this Chapter shall be punishable by an administrative citation as follows:
1. $125 for the first violation;
2. $250 for the second violation;
3. $500 for the third and any additional violation.
Quite a contrast, and just on the fines alone. You would think that Arcadia and Sierra Madre are from two different states, and have heeded entirely different laws on the need to restrict water usage. This rather than neighboring communities that draw their water supplies from the exact same source. Or at least used to do so.
How can this be explained? How can two cities that shared the exact same water supply be having such different experiences? These are the big questions.
Another thing, or two
Here are two comments left here yesterday that I thought were very good.
Interesting that most of the comments triggered by the "stick it in your ear" attitidude of the Arcadia City Council gets the blame for our problems with water. Why is our City Manager, Public Works Manager are spared the blame of not doing a simple deepening of our water wells like Arcadia did, enhancing the "settling pond system, and development of the natural spring water that passes right under our noses? That omission pushed by the late "real estate / developer" influenced City Council has landed us right in the middle of a "lake gone dry". I think the old business canard that if you can't build a better mouse trap then copy those who did applies. We need look no further than Arcadia for a succes story. Our City Administration again proves to be incompetent. Sierra Madre City Council … wake up!
Here is the other one:
The state agency responsible for making sure all municipalities are compliant with their conservation requirements is the State Water Resources Control Board, Los Angeles region. They cannot be contacted by email (I tried). Their main number is 213 576 6600. The office you want is enforcement and compliance. They should be told that Arcadia doesn't seem to be taking the drought as seriously as its neighboring communities; that their usage has gone UP since last year and that that the Arcadia Public Works Director, Tom Tait, is saying they have plenty of groundwater and that is no need for alarm. (They were told by the Water Master earlier this year that they had to shut down one of their wells because they were stealing our groundwater).
When calling the State Water Resources Control Board, you might want to ask them how it is that Arcadia and Sierra Madre are having such different experiences with water right now.
It really is quite a mystery. Maybe they can enlighten us.