|Process conscious Sacramento planning pigeons|
In places such as Sierra Madre, which we like to think of as being already built-out enough (thank you very much), these numbers are particularly onerous because they are often responsible for the kinds of unwanted high-density stack and pack housing that many feel is out of character in our town. That and cookie cutter development planning mandates generated by Sacramento hardly work in wonderfully idiosyncratic communities such as ours. They don't really work anywhere else either, as some of those more capitulatory communities have discovered.
At least in the opinion of many who live here. Besides, didn't state run central planning go out with the old Soviet Union? It didn't seem to work so well for them.
Here is my question. Are RHNA numbers even relevant anymore? Particularly when Governor Jerry Brown has somehow now decreed that Sierra Madre, along with Arcadia, Pasadena and many other similarly afflicted cities, must now reduce their water usage by as much as 35%? Which is even more than most other cities?
So can these cities be expected to accommodate a significant percentage of new state mandated high density housing while also cutting their water usage by more than a third?
This from today's Pasadena Star News (link):
Some Southern California cities will have to reduce water use by 35 percent under new plan - Several cities in Southern California will have to reduce water use by as much as 35 percent under a new conservation schedule released by the State Water Resources Control Board.
Arcadia, Beverly Hills, Colton, Glendora, La Habra, Redlands, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena and Upland are some of the cities targeted to reach the top tier water reduction standard, which goes from 10 percent to a high of 35 percent.
Here in Sierra Madre the debate has been how much in additional water use reductions can people be expected to make after having already cut their usage back significantly already. Well, Governor Brown has now decided that for us. If it goes through, that number is 35% more.
But things get even worse.
Reduction percentages were based on a city, community or water agency’s previous gallons per person per day from September, which the agency is using as a benchmark for its tiered schedule.
Some 411 urban water agencies, cities and communities will be subject to the schedule of reductions if approved by the State Water Board. The board has scheduled a vote on the plan on May 5.
Agencies not meeting reduction targets can be fined as much as $10,000 per day, according to the SWRCB.
$10,000 a day would quickly put a considerable dent in any city's General Fund rather quickly.
So does Sacramento believe that the cities listed above, locales such as ours that are being ordered to make draconian 35% water use reductions tout suite, can also be expected to knuckle under to the kinds of increases in SCAG housing its RHNA numbers require us to plan for?
Seems like a conflict in Sacramento's central planning priorities to me. Maybe someone at City Hall should ask them about this.
Farmers are off the water hook
Jerry Brown might want you to reduce your water usage by 35%, but farmers? Not so much. This from ABC News (link):
California Gov. Jerry Brown Defends Farms’ Water Use, Warns Changes May Come - Days after taking the unprecedented step of ordering mandatory water-use reductions throughout his state, California Gov. Jerry Brown defended his executive order’s treatment of the state’s agriculture industry and its use of water in an interview with ABC's "This Week."
Brown said California's farms are “providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America,” as well as jobs for the state’s most vulnerable residents. Though agriculture accounts for only 2 percent of California's economy, it consumes 80 percent of the state's water, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.
The Democratic governor also emphasized how much agriculture has already been hurt by the state's drought.
“The farmers have fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of land," Brown told ABC’s Martha Raddatz. "They’re pulling up vines and trees. Farm workers who are very low end of the economic scale here are out of work. There are people in agriculture areas that are really suffering.”
Brown said shutting water allocations off would displace hundreds of thousands of people.
"If you don't want to produce any food and import it from some other place, of course you could do that," he said. "But that would displace hundreds of thousands of people and I don't think it's needed."
Almonds yes, lawns no? Interesting times we are living in.