Thursday, August 7, 2014

What?? NBC News Los Angeles: "Arcadia Passes Strict Drought Measures"

Somebody please call Fritz
I am not certain that the Los Angeles version of NBC News really quite understands what it is saying here. Because there really isn't anything at all strict about Arcadia's actions.

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:

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.


  1. hang tough arcadiansAugust 7, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    One city planned for these conditions by digging adequate wells. One city did not, choosing to be an economic free rider by investing in an overpriced staff and independent police department. Arcadia should be applauded for planning for a not so rainy day.

    And on a broader scale, this is all if a piece. Rather than capture and manage all resources within reach (think cracking and the pipeline from Canada), we demonize the use of these resources and raise their costs. The result: a reduced standard of living, stagnant family income, and the widespread view that our children will be worse off than we are.

    1. Why are you bashing Pasadena?

    2. 6:29 you forgot the part where Arcadia stole close to a million acre feet of water from the East Raymond Basin. They charged it against another basin.

      Mission accomplished? Yes. That rampant overpumping depleted the only basin Sierra Madre pumps from.

      And one that arrogant SOB Tait has the nerve to say they planned well.

      The entire Raymond Basin Board agreed that Arcadia cheated. Check out the public record.

    3. As a resident of Sierra Madre but one with some common sense. I find it hard to understand why everyone is applauding the measures taken by Sierra Madre Council yet do nothing on their own initiative.

      We have been advised of water restrictions for the best part of 2014 yet is ANYONE doing anything to enforce common sense and human decency. NO people have to wait to be told its law before they get off their butts and do anything.

      We recently traveled to San Francisco and down the PCH, it was gorgeous. However, my husband and I were amazed that restaurants in small towns have had to close their toilets due to lack of water, they have chemical ones instead. Yet some residents, businesses and even some places of worship (you know who you are) in Sierra Madre believe that they have the right to use water whenever they wish for matters of such little importance as watering a small strip of grass next to the road and wasting thousands of gallons in the process.

      I am so fed up of walking around seeing sprinklers on every day come cloud, rain or shine (yes people have them on after a rain storm which is just lazy), whatever we gain after the rainfall you lazy, ignorant people use it to water outside space that has just been watered. Senseless!!!!

      WHY. Answer - because you can and why should you have brown grass, after all you pay taxes and water. You believe it is your right.

      Well I say its not your right, you have a social responsibility to everyone in California to conserve a precious resource. One we are lucky to have and one that will be gone very soon and you ignoramuses will be the first to get on your soap box.

      Sierra Madre may have measures in place but until something is done to stop these people flagrantly wasting water (and I am looking at the police dept to step up) then nothing you say or do will change.

      Stop criticizing other cities and look at our own first.

  2. If arcadia had to shut a well down because they were taking water from us, what was the disposition? Did they have to give water back to us? Did they pay a fine? How did this happen in the first place?

  3. So last year Arcadians were asked to cut 20% and they increased by 1%. They will not respond unless their council takes stronger action.

    1. My guess is there is a lot of opposition in Arcadia to any lind of water use sanctions. The city council there did the bare minimum it needed to do to keep Sacramento off of their backs.

    2. There is quite a difference between how Sierra Madre and Arcadia view the water crisis. Here the people were heard, there Realtors and developers obviously made the call.

  4. And the other little piggy went and made local, state, national and international head lines when it came to water and the condition of a home owner's lawn grass, you guessed it Glendora, California. The new poster child of mean and insane when the home owner was trying to conserve water since the state of California is in a drought red alert.

  5. Arcadia is served (among other cities) by MWD via an agency called the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. According to that web site they are 80% local water and 20% MWD water. If MWD is calling for conservation among its' clients, how do you think MWD will respond to Arcadia's rather weak conservation regs? Duarte, another city served by USGVMWD has enacted a 20% reduction ordiance, while Baldwin Park doesn't call for any additional reduction beyond a Stage !, though they will terminate your water service for continued violations.

  6. The 'dig a deeper well' issue was suggested on Tattler many months ago. It was rejected derisorily at that time with a 'we're already down to bed-rock' dismissal (Trolls at work?). Now it seems the story has changed and we could have drilled deeper ,regardless of rock? So which is it? Before we go off on another tangent ,perhaps we should get a fact check done? Can we dig deeper to find water & through the bed rock, or can't we ?
    There is some good news - the notorious serial leaker on Mountain Trail will be replaced next week. It is decades late and the entire street will be excavated Monday through Friday ! So suggest we all avoid the area .

    1. There are a couple of things about the "bedrock" explanation that are hard to believe. The first being nobody can drill through it. In times as technologically advanced as these remarkable things are being done. The next being that there is no water below this bedrock. If nobody can drill below it, how would anyone ever know? But what makes this particularly hard to figure out is Arcadia managed to drill wells that are still supplying most of their water yet ours are dry. It makes no sense. I think it is an excuse created to cover up for poor planning.

  7. It seems like the last two posters should get some facts before they accuse the city of poor planning. Check with the water master of the basin for facts. As for the bedrock, you can drill through bedrock to make a well - its expensive and needs special equipment, and if there is water beneath it.

    1. But you have ignored the big question. Arcadia and Sierra Madre have been drawing from the same water source for years. Yet Arcadia has water and Sierra Madre does not. Why is that? And seriously, given the dangerously decayed state of this city's water mains, can you really claim that things here have been planned well? With a straight face?

    2. We asked for a Fact Check above. If you have new facts about drilling through bedrock to find water ,please contribute. Otherwise your dismissive remarks are no different from the derisory ones delivered by previous Trolls. And by the way -do you really think the average citizen has access to the Water Master ? How do we speak to him ? via Gandolf?

    3. People are allowed to express their opinions here without being called names. Just so you know.

    4. The drilling question does seem to be the taboo topic. It always brings out the critics when anyone brings it up.


    1. It's true. Bruce donates it to Arcadia.

  9. DO THE MATH....

  10. Prior to Sierra Madre Conservation of Water...
    the entire city used 3003 Acre Feet of Water per year
    As of Jan 2014 the entire city uses 2100 acre feet of water a year

    by dividing 3003 / by 2100 acre feet = that's a 30% Water Reduction

    Why is City Hall taking away the residents water?

  11. FACT
    1) Sierra Madre Water Enterprise which has no checking account...
    2) Has previously paid for water credits to be purchased from MWD & SGVMWD
    3) Now...
    a) city hall has raised water rates by 160% & has screwed over its residents by,
    b) by receiving a water (call) for MWQD water to be delivered to the city yard at NO ADDITIONAL COST....
    c) What does that mean to the water purchasers....
    1) the city is selling yellow water which is eating holes in many water purchasers water pipes ($)
    How may holes do you have in your water pipes?
    2) city hall is saving $700,000 a year in Edison cost due to not having to run the electric water pumps!
    city hall is saving $500,000+/- a year by not having to clean the water prior to sale to its residents?

    Can Any One Please Tell Me Where the Additional $1.2 Million Dollars is going - or has gone ?
    Has city hall explained that they found another $1.2 million dollars?
    You know... the money city hall is not spending!

    and Why did City Hall raise its water rates & are telling us that we have no water?

    If you believe city hall... then we must have 8+ Years of WATER in the ground plus the water / water credits purchased by Sierra Madre WAter Enterprise prior to the Mickey Mouse WATER Ordinance going into effect!

    I believe city hall is lying about the available of water & has enacted another Mickey Mouse Water Ordinance!.

    I am not stupid... I understand they drought exists and the city of Arcadia is pumping water from trhe same water acquirer which city of Sierra Madre produces from!

  12. If these statements are half true... I am real pissed! and so should my neighbors be!

  13. Glendora, California is trying to welch on an agreement for their past misdeeds in the legal field of California, court cases spell it out very plainly. Glendora lost so they had to pay the piper. - A Public Hearing to consider a Resolution amending the City of Glendora's Master Schedule of Fees for Service to clear up some ambiguity in the current text relating to AD-2 Document Reproduction and allow Glendora residents to receive per calendar year their first five (5) pages free. (CITY ACTION).

  14. "Water Master"? Sounds like a term from the first half of the 19th Century

    1. Just another overpriced government employee. Won't tell you the truth no matter how many ways you ask.


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