Saturday, April 11, 2015

The City Manager Report: Elaine Aguilar's Take On Jerry Brown's Draconian Water Reduction Executive Order

Bridge over troubled sand dunes
Jerry Brown's executive order demanding that Sierra Madre reduce its water consumption by the maximum level of 35% has been agendized for the April 28th City Council meeting. Which means it will be among the very first things a newly minted Mayor John Capoccia will have to deal with. The lucky fellow.

When you add in Bruce Inman's much anticipated report on our water woes in general, it should make for a most interesting evening. The discontent in this community over the lack of progress being made on the discolored water problem could come to a head at that meeting. I for one am eagerly looking forward to that discussion. Maybe we should make a special occasion out of it. I'm sure at least a few people would have something to say.

In her always incisive City Manager Report, Elaine Aguilar takes a swing at some of the same water issues we have been discussing on The Tattler these last couple of days. In particular Jerry Brown's edict over how much water Sierra Madre should be permitted to use. Or not use.

Here are Elaine's very matter of fact observations:

State agencies are moving very quickly to address the directives of the Governor’s executive order. On April 7 the State Water Board released their Draft Regulatory Framework, describing their intent for enforcing the statewide 25% water conservation requirement (Governor’s Order #2). 

The Board established four conservation Tiers, ranging from 10% to 35% conservation over 2013 water use. Based on Sierra Madre’s September 2014 residential gallons per capita water use, the Board has placed the city in the Tier 4, 35% group of agencies. 

Ironically, the state is using R-GPCD as the unit of measurement for setting conservation thresholds; the State Board’s own website states “It is not appropriate to use Residential Gallons Per Capita Day (R-GPCD) water use data for comparisons across water suppliers, unless all relevant factors are accounted for. Factors that can affect per capita water include: Rainfall, temperature and evaporation rates, Population growth, Population density, Socio-economic measures such as lot size and income, and Water prices.”

Should the regulations be adopted (May 5/6) as described, as of June 1, 2015, the city’s water production is to be reduced to a level equivalent to 65% of the June 2013 production. The regulatory framework as presented on the 7th provides no means of appeal and does not describe a compliance schedule.

On April 9th, the state took further action, decreasing the allowable water rate of new toilets, faucets, and urinals. The new limitations take effect January 1, 2016.

In light of the Governor’s action and the flurry of state regulatory this week, staff will include in our water conservation reports a status of compliance with the state’s new mandatory 25% conservation goal, in addition to our month over month comparisons. As a point of beginning the last three full months are:

March 2015 - 21% Conservation over March 2013

February 2015 – 17.6% Conservation over February of 2013 January 2015 – 14.4% Conservation over January of 2013

For April, water use is increasing. April 1-6, Sierra Madre used over 15% more water than the same period in 2014. Nevertheless, overall water production April 1-6 of 2015 was 28% less that in 2013.

One thing I would have hoped for here is a little more detail on why Sierra Madre has been dropped into the most punitive portion of the Governor's water reduction menu, Tier 4. Or Death Row as I've started calling it. Knowing more about the reasons why this unfortunate event happened would give people a better idea of what will likely be expected of them in a few months.

That said, based on Sierra Madre's recent water conservation numbers Elaine is citing here, I'd venture to say that Moonbeam's 35% reduction demand is going to be an exceedingly tough one for this community to hit.

One of best columns on California's water crisis yet

(Mod: I don't know if you are familiar with a guy named Ed Ring, but he is one of the major players over at the California Policy Center website (link). Which is pretty much the same group of folks responsible for Transparent California and some other equally game changing efforts. His recent column on California's water crisis is a home run in my opinion. Here is a portion of it.)

Desalination plants vs. bullet trains and pensions - Current policy solutions enacted to address California’s water crisis provide an object lesson in how corruption masquerading as virtue is impoverishing the general population to enrich a handful of elites.

Instead of building freeways, expanding ports, restoring bridges and aqueducts, and constructing dams, desalination plants, and power stations, California’s taxpayers are pouring tens of billions each year into public sector pension funds – who invest 90 percent of the proceeds out-of-state, and the one big construction project on the table, the $100M+ “bullet train,” fails to justify itself under virtually any credible cost/benefit analysis. Why?

The reason is because infrastructure, genuinely conceived in the public interest, lowers the cost of living. This in-turn causes artificially inflated asset values to fall, imperiling the solvency of pension funds – something that would force them to reduce benefits.

Beneficial infrastructure is also a threat to crony capitalists who don’t want a business climate that attracts competitors. Affordable land, energy, and water encourage economic growth. Crony capitalists and public sector unions alike hide behind environmentalists, who oppose growth and development, all of it, everywhere – because no new developments, anywhere, suits their monopolistic interests. No wonder the only infrastructure vision still alive in California, the “bullet train,” is nothing more than a gigantic, tragic farce.

Urban Water Consumption is a Small Fraction of Total Water Use

Returning to the topic of water, a basic examination of the facts reveals the current drought to be a problem that could be easily solved, if it weren’t for powerful special interests who don’t want it to be solved, ever.

Here’s a rough summary of California’s annual water use. In a dry year, around 150 million acre feet (MAF) fall onto California’s watersheds in the form of rain or snow, in a wet year, we get about twice that much. Most of that water either evaporates, percolates, or eventually runs into the ocean. In terms of net water withdrawals, each year around 31 MAF are diverted for the environment, such as to guarantee fresh water inflow into the delta, 27 MAF are diverted for agriculture, and 6.6 MAF are diverted for urban use. Of the 6.6 MAF that is diverted for urban use, 3.7 MAF is used by residential customers, and the rest is used by industrial, commercial and government customers. [3]

Put another way, we divert 65 million acre feet of water each year in California for environmental, agricultural and urban uses, and a 25 percent reduction in water usage by residential customers will save exactly 0.9 million acre feet – or 1.4 percent of our total statewide water usage. One good storm easily dumps ten times as much water onto California’s watersheds as we’ll save via a 25 percent reduction in annual residential water consumption.

California’s politicians can impose utterly draconian curbs on residential water consumption, and it won’t make more than a small dent in the problem.

(Mod: Puts into perspective how little that onerous 35% water use reduction number Sierra Madre is being socked with actually means in the grand scheme of things. That plus how things got this bad. To read the rest of Ed Ring's column, including his take on desalination technology that is already in use practically everywhere in the world except our poorly run part of it, click here.)

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

88 comments:

  1. Where's Sam Clemens when you need him

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    1. He's talking to his lawyers about that fishing derby.

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    2. I wonder if Tom Love is ready to apologize and take back his comments at that critical city council meeting on whether to institute a water meter and building moratorium. Does everyone remember how he spoke first and tired to take the wind out of everyone's sails by saying that Sierra Madre basically had plenty of water. If he would have sat down after his presentation, the City Council would not have passed those moratoriums. Thankfully, Council Member Arizmendi asked some tough questions that showed the emperor had no clothes and he was forced to retreat from the rosy picture he had painted about the condition of Sierra Madre's water supply. What's worse is that he probably didn't do that on his own. It was so flagrant that developer interests probably called him up and had him do their bidding. I don't think he would have done that on his own. I was at that meeting and don't want anybody to forget what he did. Everyone in that room had read the article and the reports and knew that the drought was a dire one. Yet, Tom Love, the supposed expert, painted a vastly different picture. Now that the drought has continued and even the MWD may run out of water, let's have the Tattler re-run the video they played before in which Tom said that Sierra Madre only uses a "drop in the bucket" and how our water supply was not endangered. Play it again Sam.

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    3. Maybe we should turn Mr. Love over the Jerry Brown's water vigilance bureaucracy for enabling water hogging.

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    4. Love is the Benedict Arnold of Sierra Madre - too full of himself to ever put the interests of the City ahead of his own interests.

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    5. I heard that Love owned up to his foolishness and apologized during his presentation at the Water World day.

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    6. The old "Develop Sierra Madre to Death" crowd isn't seen around much anymore. When is the last time anyone heard from the once ubiquitous John Buchanan? Or Josh Moran? Or Bart Doyle? They've all gone to ground.

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    7. 9:13 - what did Love say? Anyone get it on video?

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    8. True 9:15 - I worry though that they are being busy behind the scenes.
      On the other hand, it's a tough time to be a cheerleader for development.

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    9. Usually you can tell by the trail of slime they leave behind.

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    10. I think the Tom Love video can be found on Youtube. If he apologized at World Water Day, that's a step in the right direction. However, that City Council moratorium was too important for hime to play politics with and there was too much at stake. That video is a classic. He put himself forward as the expert and he testified falsely. It was one of the most dispicable things I have ever seen.

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  2. You have to wonder if California has people running the government now who are going to be able to handle the water disaster. Special interests are still calling the shots, and seem to be the only thing that Jerry Moonbeam can hear.

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  3. There's alot of different ways to mitigate our water emergency and one that should always be on the table is whether to allow further housing projects or not. Southern California is basically a desert but through unnatural and artificial means, we created an oasis. That's all fine and dandy. But every geographic areas has a limitation on the resources available to sustain that geographic location and water is one of them. Maybe California just can't take on any of those projects like the 12,000 housing units being proposed for Tejon Ranch near Bakersfield. We can't just keep building and developing while we are running out of water. We need to solve the crisis first and then allow a prudent amount of new development.

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    1. This makes too much sense. Govt. will never understand anything that is logical.
      We are in deep doo doo. Thanks Jerry.

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    2. Why to we continue to build, build, build when we have a water emergency. And why do we want to tighten our belts or pay fines so that we can reduce water consumption in order for developers to bring new housing projects on line. It makes no sense. The existing residents need to have a sustainble water supply that can be counted on. If they don't, then no new users should be allowed.

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  4. Half of the water consumed in Saudi Arabia comes from desalination.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Saudi_Arabia

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    1. In California that percentage is 1%. Proving once again that Sacramento is parasitic and useless.
      http://www.cnbc.com/id/102563014

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    2. Desalination is currently a highly unsustainable solution. We are not Saudi Arabia with fuel that costs 20 cents a gallon. Desal water is stratospherically more expensive, even more expensive than driving a truck from the Mississippi river with water in it.

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    3. Technology is way ahead of you.
      http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/California-drought-Solar-desalination-plant-5326024.php

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    4. You realize that technology doesn't work on ocean water, right? It works on water that is a little salty because of agricultural reasons.... so it only works as reclamation in agricultural lands. It's not something that would work here in Sierra Madre.

      What would work is everyone catching their roof water, and reclaiming their shower and sink water to use on their lawns.

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    5. Is solar-powered desalination answer to water independence for California?
      http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/solar-power-california-water

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    6. Here's the quote from your article:

      A big stumbling block is cost. Solar-powered desalination currently averages about $1.52-$2.05 per cubic metre of water produced, depending on technology, energy costs and location, according to the World Bank. Conventionally, alternatives typically cost half that or less. The cubic-metre costs of desalinised water in Israel's traditional Hadera and (newer) Sorek plants, for example, are $0.65 and $0.52 respectively.

      If I remember correctly, the desal plants in San Diego and Santa Barbara coming online as soon as they can get them online are going to cost anywhere from twice to five times the typical rate. Prices will rise if fuel prices rise.

      So it's great that maybe there's a solution sometime in the future. Maybe in a decade? I hope that's what you mean by technology being way ahead of me. At least 10 years ahead of me.... around 2026 to have an answer that can be executed.

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    7. The price of water is going up. Way up. Surprised you didn't know that. The high cost of desalinated water will not seem quite as out of line as it does now. And face it, desalinated water is better than none.

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    8. 6:36 - California has about a year of water left. How much are you going to be willing to pay when it is all gone and desalinated water is all that is left?

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  5. For once in my life, I am truly out of words. Long ago, in several college classes, I was taught that change had to be slow. If it was not, then chaos would reign. So you have it! In my lifetime, the changes in California are too many to cite. This City Council has managed to do the right thing in both important arenas: development and water. But it seems to be to no avail in the larger picture. We no longer have power as citizens. The only power we have is voting. AND NO ONE CARES ENOUGH TO DO THAT. So one can be assured in the next election we will get the same people leading us to hell.

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  6. The bullet train is indeed ridiculous, but I would be wary of the emanations from the California Policy Center, which acts more like a Koch brothers inspired and affiliated lobbyist than a think tank.

    I'd like to see CPC provide some citations from peer-reviewed economic studies supporting its proposition that good infrastructure lowers the cost of living therefore depressing values therefore hurting public pensions and favoring startups over entrenched big business.That's quite a stretch in their quest to disparage public workers and their unions and pension funds.

    I doubt that CPC and the Koch are concerned about startups. They claim they want to reduce government spending but they really just want to divert more of those tax dollars to their construction companies for infrastructure projects that will reduce costs for their other businesses. 710 tunnel anyone?

    If the Koch brothers and their ilk think government spending is out of control they should set an example and use the clout of their huge corporations to refuse to receive any government funds directly or indirectly through other companies with whom they do business.

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    1. To set the record straight here, The California Policy Center and the Koch Brothers have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Most of the CPC people I know are very much Libertarians, a political philosophy that the corporatist Kochs have considerable problems with. The author of the above statement has a definite agenda working, and seems to be willing to get his Pinocchio on in order to further it.

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    2. Why bash the Koch brothers? Why not George Soros or any of his ilk?

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    3. They all stink.

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    4. The difference is that Soros and his ilk don't use lies and subterfuge try to get the average Joe and Jane to vote against their own interests like Koch and his coven do.

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    5. 7:09, you really should get back on your meds. Your Soros logic (or lack thereof) is laughable.

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    6. Your non-answer ducks the issue 6:53. Don't duck, be brave, and give us some examples where Soros tries to get the average Jane or Joe to vote against their own interests like the Kochs do.

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    7. 4:24 and 6:53 see progressive billionaire on one side and conservative billionaire on the other side, therefore they're equally bad. See that--Fair and Balanced.

      Kinda like one side says the earth is spherical and the other side says it's flat. So they must both be wrong--Fair and Balanced!

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  7. It's time to build a water pipeline to the east coat or maybe the northwest or Alaska.

    Heck, maybe we should just tow some icebergs here. It'll probably be cheaper than desalinization. The changing climate causing our drought and other other anomalous weather around the world is making Larsen C ice shelf available soon.

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    1. I can't believe that the truly clever innovators and inventors that America is blessed with cannot figure out how to make desalinization work in a cost effective manner.

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    2. From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination
      "At the moment, around 1% of the world’s population are dependent on desalinated water to meet their daily needs, but by 2025, the UN expects 14% of the world’s population to be encountering water scarcity. Unless people get radically better at water conservation, the desalination industry has a very strong future indeed."

      Can the fast choo choo and use the money for desalination plants instead.

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    3. Do we still have clever innovators and inventors here?

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    4. Australia's drought led them to build a lot of desalination plants. Many solar.

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    5. We do not need much desal .What we need is to store more of the rainfall and control downstream flooding. The plans exist but much the bond money collected for water got 'redirected' to so-called environmental projects like high density affordable housing.
      For more on the reservoir issue ,this is an interesting perspective from an area that is affected much more than we are:
      .http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/06/01/3956458/should-calif-add-new-dams.html

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  8. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, California Policy Center is the state affiliate of and receives funding from the State Policy Network (SPN), which is funded by the Koch brothers and others with a strict corporate agenda.

    Some CPC people may be Libertarians, but it's probably an enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thing.

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    1. So you're saying we are stuck with an either or situation involving the Koch Brothers and parasitic government employee unions? Talk about going to hell in a hand basket.

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    2. It will be interesting to see what the effects of the millennial drought will have on politics as usual in California. I think in the end a lot of oxen are going to be gored.

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    3. Nothing is either-or but to answer your question 10:23, let's assume that a certain amount of taxes will be collected and spent.

      Where would you want the money to go?

      (1) To government employees, including your friends, relatives, and neighbors, who may be of service to you and the community and who will pay taxes on their wages and spend their wages in our community, helping businesses and creating jobs? or

      (2) To giant corporations owned by people like the Koch brothers and Walton family, who will keep their employees' wages as low as possible and who will consolidate their tax payor subsidized profits, taking those profits to offshore tax havens and investing those profits in countries where wages are even lower, thus eliminating American jobs and the American dream while still holding themselves up as bastions of that American dream.

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    4. Is neither an acceptable answer for you? Because it really isn't an either/or choice. California is falling apart because there isn't enough money to pay for infrastructure. Be it roads, water or schools. And why is this? California's state government works hard for both #1 and #2. The people who slip money into their pockets around election time so they'll keep the gravy train rolling. What about the taxpayers? What about the people who will not receive a 6 figure pension financed by tax dollars? Both #1 and #2 are fighting for the same thing. Our money. A pox on both.

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    5. If California is the example 10:53 is using, then his case is dead in the water. Or sand, I guess.

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    6. The reason there is no money for infrastructure is because it has all gone to the lavish salaries and pension for the public sector unions. Very simple. When the prison guard union is one of the most powerful lobbists in the state, you know you're in trouble. Add to that all the other unions, and they have politicians in their pockets and taxpayers by the throat.

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    7. Govt in California is corrupt. And what could be more despicable than its apologists?

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  9. 10:53 here. I did say that nothing is either-or but given those choices, I'd rather have wages spent here than shipping profits and investments and therefore American jobs offshore.

    Keep in mind that pensions allow government to pay lower than market wages now, deferring payment, albeit often still below market, until far into the future. Also many workers are required to pay into pensions from their own wages.

    What needs to be done is to curb abuses, such as greatly inflating the salaries of politically connected managers shortly before retirement so their pension is not based on their customary earnings in the years before retirement but on that last, highly inflated year or so.

    Those abuses are never really cured because the corporate elite want them there: outrage over abuses enables them to gather recruits from all sectors of society, helping them wage class warfare from above in their quest to privatize government and divert tax dollars to their corporations.



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    1. So you're the guy who was supposed to stop jobs from being shipped overseas? Man, did you do a lousy job.

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    2. 12:45 = lame

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    3. The truth often is. Especially for those who refuse to speak it.

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    4. Never said I was 12:45. Where and how did you read that into it?

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    5. Oh, so it's about you now, is it?

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    6. 3:45 is saving water by substituting it with gin!

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    7. Yeah. Thanks for paying.

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  10. Off topic, but it's the Tattler...did you see in the City Manager's report that CETT Investments is suing the city for 30 to 32 million dollars because it turned down the MacMansion at 610 Baldwin Court? What's the 2 million flex about? Who knew that one house was worth 30-32 million.
    MacDonald must be having some very sweet dreams about his payday.

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    1. Finally. The city has been waiting for that lawsuit for 10 years.

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    2. Seems like a lot of trouble to go to so the Buchanans have a nice place to walk their dog.

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    3. I thought Richie McDonald said they never intended to sue.

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    4. McDonald also said there wasn't a drought.

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    5. CETT will lose but only if the City calls their bluff. Courts give alot of deference to cities to control land use decisions. CETT will go bankrupt when they do lose. McDonald might be the only one who comes out - if he's being paid by the hour rather than on contingency.

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    6. That would be fitting, 1:26. I hope it goes that way.
      But CETT does this for a living - distressed real estate transactions are their thing.

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    7. CETT never intended to build anything at One Carter. This was a lawsuit setup from the very beginning.

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  11. In response to this: One thing I would have hoped for here is a little more detail on why Sierra Madre has been dropped into the most punitive portion of the Governor's water reduction menu, Tier 4. Or Death Row as I've started calling it. Knowing more about the reasons why this unfortunate event happened would give people a better idea of what will likely be expected of them in a few months.

    We're in the most punitive portion because we use 209 galls per person, and high use is 150 and above. Pasadena, who has increased its water use, uses around 140 gallons and is being called to reduce by 25%.

    Communities with few people and lots of land are highly likely to use lots more per person than people in large apartment buildings (who only use the water to bathe and drink and do laundry).

    This is a focus on killing greenery to get back to water sustainability. Sierra Madre has a lot of greenery available to kill, as does Arcadia and La Canada. If we are moving to a drier environment, we won't be able to keep the green yards anyway.

    The trouble is, within the city, it's unrealistic to ask the 45 gallon water users here to cut back the same percentage as the 300 gallon users with their huge yards. The tiered rates are one solution. They radically increase costs if you use more water to keep your yard alive, and don't touch people who don't have yards to water. The trouble is the penalty rates, which penalize comparative use from previous years.

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  12. @3:59: Best comment of the day.

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    1. Why would Sacramento care? They have special interests to take care of. Take it out of the hide of the middle class.

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    2. Sacramento is using a broad brush to state that any water district whose users average over 150 gallons per person must reduce by 35%. It's then up to the water district itself to chose who to target. I don't think it's wrong for Sierra Madre to target water users here who use over 150 gallons to reduce more than those who have hit the average or less. They are doing this to a degree, but they've also done a blanket "everyone must reduce by a flat amount" which I don't think is the right way to go.

      I have a big green yard that I can kill (though I will hate doing so), but I get the reason why. I don't think my neighbor should take 100 less showers so that I can have a lawn instead of succulents.

      So the issue is not Sacramento, it's us. And the reason it's us is because we overtax our local supplies by double. We aren't self-sufficient. Sacramento is just making us figure it out now instead of later.

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    3. Comment from late yesterday:

      "I doubt the average person uses150 gallons per day for personal use such as for showering, shaving, flushing, washing clothes and dishes, the vegetable garden, coffee, lemonade, squirt gun fights, ice cubes for those 5pm martinis….

      No, the "average" person uses so much because that average is pushed way up by those who favor big green lawns. Many are beautiful, but that Bermuda grass you like so much comes from a climate that gets over 50" of rain per year--time to rethink that. How about more vegetable gardening with drip irrigation? Or at least water efficient ground cover."

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    4. Exactly. However, I read somewhere that it may be smarter to use imported water on your lawn, because you are bringing in Colorado River water, and putting it into the ground, where some of it goes to the greenery but a lot more goes into the aquifer, replenishing it from outside water.

      If the rain will return someday, using imported water to keep the aquifer healthy through a dry cycle isn't the worst idea. As water tables drop, land settles downward, and compresses the soil so that when water returns, there's less "sponge" down below to accept the water. You have a permanently reduced holding capacity.

      But if the rain isn't going to return, then you need to accept the new normal.

      Some interesting person commenting here also said there was a problem with ripping out green and replacing it with pavement. It creates a heatsink that drives off clouds. Replacing heavy green with local, lower water green, keeps things a little cooler and encourages dew and clouds. At least that's what it seemed they were saying. I'd like to hear more about it, since I'll be having to rip up a lot of my green in the near future.

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  13. Let them eat cake!April 11, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    Yet again the wealthy are telling us little folk how to live. This time it's tear out your yard and find a spare $30k to replace it with succulents and giant boulders trucked in by diesel trucks spewing noise and fumes. Added bonus: your kids can't even play in the rocks, so they'll turn to fat.

    Why can't we invest our crazy taxes in desalinization, waste water recovery , new dams, etc. instead of turning the town into a heat reflecting parking lot that contributes to global warming that, of corse, requires we little folk to subsidize the Teslas and Priuses of the rich folks who can afford to overpay for electric cars.

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    1. Good post. Thanks.

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    2. Why should other taxpayers pay for Sierra Madre to get imported water or pay for us to collect our own wastewater to use in our own aquifer? Why shouldn't we pay for that ourselves? Desalinated water is crazy expensive, why should I convince someone else to pay for it so that I can water my lawn?

      Other tax dollars have already gone into Sierra Madre water infrastructure, into wastewater collection for our greater area, into aquaducts and pipes that are the only reason we are getting enough water today. And this blog was an area that was actively foaming at the mouth over our utility taxes going to pay off our half of the cost.

      We're not little folk subsidizing rich people. We're the subsidized ones.

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    3. We got other people to pay for that junk? Cool.

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    4. The price of water is going up. Way up. Surprised you didn't know that, 6:23. The high cost of desalinated water will not seem quite as out of line as it does now. And face it, desalinated water is better than none.

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    5. Why is water going up? Because farmers are paying $10 for what we pay $350. They use 80% of the total pie. So the cities should pay $1500 so that farmers can continue exporting alfalfa to China, instead of selling the water to us for $400... which is double the entire profit they make on the food?

      There's plenty of water for people to drink and bathe. There's not enough water for agriculture in the desert, and the question of lawns vs agriculture is a battle of whether agriculture will have to contract an additional 2% or should we kill ALL the lawns in California so they don't have to do that.

      We need water prices to be cheap for survival (10 gallons a day at super cheap prices), and anything above that gets stratospherically more expensive. Let rich people pay 20 times the rate to keep their lawns green, I guarantee we'll see a radical reduction in consumption. And then use that money to pay for water reclamation... which is MUCH cheaper than any desal price (But hey, if you want to pay desal price, let people with lawns choose if that's the price they want to pay because the LAWNS are the reason we need desal, not the people). Buy out the farmers rights in the desert. Let China find some other place to buy alfalfa from... some place with water.

      California is not meant to grow this amount of farm product. We exceeded the max limit about 2 decades ago. During the drought almond farmers have continued EXPANDING acreage.

      Santa Barbara launched their desal plant back in the 80s drought. It went offline 9 months after it started. Now they're looking at paying 20 million to get it back up and running again. Why? Because tax dollars always get wastefully spent so people won't have to change their habits... but if it personally hit their pocket they'd conserve and everyone would pay a lot less. You people are all short sighted and crazy. You all are your own worst problem.

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    6. If it doesn't rain there won't be anything to reclaim. Watering the lawn does not replenish aquifers. The water bureaucracy hates desalination because it will take away their porky little fiefdoms. Just like solar is going to kill off Edison and the oil companies. Go get a real job, 7:34.

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    7. 5:37 - what are you smoking? $30k for succulents? there's a program that pays you to remove turf and we live in the foothills... drive up the canyon and you'll how many millions of boulders there are to spare.

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    8. 7:40: Desal plants ARE water bureacracy. If you want water independence, like solar provides personal control of electricity, then get rain barrels and capture your own water and use it on your own stuff.

      The farmers that are using conservation on their lands have discovered a side effect that their groundwater isn't being recharged anymore. Generally there's excess water in urban landscaping, and that water either runs away into storm drains or goes down into the aquifer. There's a case to be made for using imported Colorado River water to sink into our aquifer in temporary drought conditions.

      Delete
  14. The Turf Rebate Program has ended - no more (tax payer)money left to give to err....taxpayers- after local govt has taken their 50% cut of course.

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  15. 7.34
    Farmers do not use 80% of the water .Please do not abuse Tattlers readers with incorrect info.For the real figures see below.
    50% of the water is used for environmental(Smelt etc) purposes(actually pet political but that is another story)
    Of the remaining 50%, 80% is used by agriculture.
    But the allocation to agriculture has been drastically reduced during the drought.This is caused much unemployment for the farm workers.
    Try reading this and your understanding of the situation may improve:
    http://www.city-journal.org/2015/25_1_california-drought.html

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    Replies
    1. 9:14: If you knew anything you'd know that the reason the smelt were dying was because of salt intrustion into the inner rivers because of overdrafts. The salt intrusion, if left unchecked, would within 10 years destroy agribusiness and urban freshwater supplies. The smelt were a canary in the coal mine, and protecting them means protecting the long term future of fresh water.

      Agribusiness wants taxpayers to fund a couple of billion dollars of earthworks to deal with the now arrested salt intrusion from increased freshwater flows, so they can overdraft once again. Specifically they see no problem bringing more saline into the Delta farming region so the Central Valley can operate as usual. The water experts have no power to implement a water plan that treats the river systems as a whole, and so various agribusinesses are fighitng for their short term interests at the cost of someone else's short term interests, at the cost of all of our long term interests.

      If you want to touch the 50% of water used for "environment" purposes, then bring on the salt intrusions into all the coastal aquifers, and into our major river tributaries. Halt all attempts at replenishing groundwater overdrafted for the last 50 years. Use every drop of water you can find so that in about 10 years we face 80% cuts instead of the 25% cuts we are looking at to the total watershed right now.

      As for the water that is getting divvied up, that is the actual sustainable amount we have access to: Urban dwellers use 10% of which around 5% is for lawns, massive public works uses 10%, and agriculture uses 80%.

      In the California Imperial Valley, farmers use 20% of the entire water from the Colorado River, a River that runs from snowmelt up in the Rockies. They were allowed overages over their legal share for decades, because places like Phoenix weren't taking their full share. Well now they are. The grand Colorado River is now overdrafted by desert consumers in many states and no longer flows into the ocean. But there's more: when you water in areas where there isn't rain, the plants pull out all the water but leave small amounts of salt behind. This causes all the land to become more saline, and without natural drainage, all that salt and all the farm peticides run off... into places like the salton sea, which is now a toxic pool. We use some of that "environmental water" to keep wet in order to prevent it from making gigantic clouds of toxic sulfur smelling nastiness that will hover over the entire city of Los Angeles, sickening us all.

      Meanwhile, since we've outmaxed snowmelt, the transfers of water from snow to Delta and Central farmers have ceased (Imperial is Colorado river and is unaffected, and facing no reductions at all within California... though facing reductions because of Phoenix). Agribusiness has dug wells in response, causing the ground to lower inches a month, overdrafting the groundwater at a scale never seen in history. Groundwater tables across the state are at historic lows, as farmers use ancient water to replace the lack of snowmelt, while urban dwellers are legally prevented from doing the same... forcing them to conserve before the hard wall occurs.

      As the ground compresses, it permanently reduces its ability to hold water, because the soils compact. Agribusiness across the central valley has now permanently removed back-up water from its future in order to get another year of farming in today. Remove 100 units, in the future you will only have access to 50. And we don't know if the height of the water table affects water supply in far flung regions. Part of Sierra Madre's water comes from underground springs. Will they dry up because of newly sunk wells somewhere else?

      In the meantime, we've lost fisheries and wetlands and natural green areas that are part of a cycle that causes rain to fall, further degrading our total natural water production from mother earth.

      Delete
    2. 9.50
      There are a lot of assertions and emotion here. Do you have references for your claims ?
      First let's establish the truth.

      Delete
    3. 7.34
      I agree on Alfalfa particularly for export.I have raised that issue several times here.
      But Almonds are a poor target.The new acreage is all drip.
      Better targets-and there are plenty are:
      Any dairy production
      Rice
      Cotton(down by 80% !)
      Corn
      Turf grown for sod
      water melons
      Peaches
      Apples
      Grapes-some
      All we need are some new reservoirs. They were planned in the 1960's but never built because of obstructionist environmental zealots to whom weak Politicians are beholden - rather like the Public Service(?) Unions .

      Delete
    4. Boo Hoo for the farmers, who get virtually free water and who work (actually supervise the work of sub-minimum wage migrants) for maybe two months out of the year, that is when they're not being paid to not grow certain crops. Likewise the ranchers with their super low public grazing fees, that is when they deign to pay those fees.

      Their skill at shaping the public perception of them as hard working, loyal Americans who barely make ends meet due to burdensome laws and insufficient subsidies is matched only by "professional" fire fighters who whine and complain that their six figure salaries are insufficient for the onerous weight lifting, racquetball, and TV viewing they must endure daily.

      Delete
    5. Delta and salinity, the first crisis in 1920: http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/2011/12/bay-delta-salinity-a-brief-history/

      Groundwater pumping in Central Valley:
      image: http://www.trbimg.com/img-542dced7/turbine/la-sci-sn-california-drought-groundwater-satellite-20141002
      Loss of over 60 million acre feet since 1960: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3057/images/results_frontpage.png
      Sinking wells as fast as they can, in places land has dropped more than a foot, destroying underground infrastructure:
      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140815-central-valley-california-drilling-boom-groundwater-drought-wells/

      Nitrate contamination from farming:
      http://www.cacoastkeeper.org/uploads/145-full.png

      The Salton Sea as Imperial Valley waste dump:
      http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/FarmRunoff.html
      Salton Sea Hydrogen plume stinks up all of Los Angeles:
      http://blogs.britannica.com/2012/09/sulfur-stench-salton-sea/
      Maxing out the entire Colorado River:
      http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2012-11-20-ColoradoRiverSupplyDemand.PNG

      Collapse of salmon:
      http://caltrout.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/figure_saving-coho-blog-1-cal.jpg

      Delete
  16. Here are the facts on California water use - if facts matter?
    http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=1108

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    Replies
    1. Great data. I didn't realize how much "wild" water was up in the Eureka region. We have no infrastructure to grab that water.

      The Sacramento River water tagged for environmental is prevents salt intrusion.

      We've go basically zero environmental water down here in our region.

      Delete
  17. More simple facts from the Govt in a variety of scenarios:
    http://www.water.ca.gov/swp/watersupply.cfm
    It is really sad to read people using Tattler for their own misguided eco ranting.Please, find the truth first and then make your case. I actually agree with the environmental approach but if you support it with lies/propaganda ,it will fail.There is more than enough support for the environmental argument by using the truth.

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