Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sierra Madre's Water Woes: Who Are The Dirty Thirty?

It looks like City Hall is rounding up all of the usual suspects. Or perhaps they're the unusual suspects because they haven't been rounded up before, and nobody but the municipal authors of this special guest list know exactly who they are. In case you are not up on the story, the City of Sierra Madre has become a little desperate in its need to cut water use in this town. And interesting things are starting to happen.

The State of California, desirous of making each and every city and water district within its borders cut its use of water, and by significant amounts, has now started wielding its mighty powers and begun to fine those cities that have not cut their usage as much as they have been asked to do. It's not like they weren't warned, either. After all, official letters have been written.

Sierra Madre, which could have numbered among those being fined but was not, at least not yet, is most definitely on the list of cities that are being closely scrutinized. And City Hall, extremely nervous about having to shell out large sums of money to the state for its water wasting ways, would like to avoid having to pay anything out its precious tax takings. Money here being about as hard to come by as potable water.

So what is happening? Here is how the Pasadena Star News describes the latest efforts to bring water use under control and within the mandates of Governor Jerry Brown.

Sierra Madre to call in top 30 water users; other cities concerned about meeting targets - While the cities from the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier area avoided being hit with penalties on Friday, many are struggling to meet water conservation mandates sent down from Sacramento.

Sierra Madre, Arcadia, Pasadena, Monterey Park and Covina are falling short of state-issued water conservation targets, according to data released Friday by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Because these cities are very close to their targets, the state board’s Office of Enforcement has held back writing them fines. But many have received letters asking them to introduce further restrictions on water customers.

“We are watching them closely,” said Cris Carrigan, the board’s chief of enforcement. “We are not contemplating issuing fines to those close to conservation goals.”

In order to avoid the fate of Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District, each of which received $61,000 fines, these cities may have to find new ways to conserve water. Some cities say they’ve avoided fines for now, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency ordinance requires them to reach a cumulative savings between 8 percent and 36 percent by the end of February.

The city of Sierra Madre has struggled mightily. At only 19 percent savings in September, and a cumulative savings of 23 percent since June 1, it is still far from its 32 percent target.

“We were expecting to do better,” said Mayor John Capoccia on Friday, a hint of disappointment in his voice. “We are very concerned.”

Sierra Madre will soon call its top 30 water users in for a sit-down with the city’s water department, he said. “We have a problem with some people not meeting the targets.”

The rest of this article may be viewed by clicking here.

So there you have it. So far none of The Dirty Thirty have been identified. At least not in public. And we are not completely certain whether these are just individuals who have been keeping their lawns inappropriately lush. It could also be businesses that do things like launder large amounts of linen.

The Kensington comes to mind, though as a significant taxpayer they might have been given a pass. Their cases usually being special.

But whatever the deal may be, as of now these identities are a big secret. I am not sure how City Hall is planning to keep it that way, however. Maybe they'll be meeting at a secret location on an undisclosed date. Carrow's in Pasadena perhaps, or Baker's Square. Places like that.

Equally important, will Water Wise Owl be present for this meeting? We understand that he is extremely upset. Th Owl is also a bit of a blabbermouth, so we might find out something from him.

What we're looking for here is a copy of any of the letters sent out to The Dirty Thirty. If you are the recipient of such a thing, and are not particularly happy about it, we'd love to post it here. As always, we'll happily leave your name out of it.

Of course, the letter we want the most is the one the city must have sent to itself. All of those many leaking pipes have likely made it the biggest water waster of all.

Perhaps Director Inman has written it already. We can only hope he wasn't too hard on himself.

Have you turned in your pod yet?

is over, and we are glad to report that everything went smoothly down on East Alegria last night. We here at The Tattler remain grateful to those who informed us about the potential security issues this year, something we were more than glad to share with everyone. People needed to know.

However, there is one more important piece of business left.

As is customary here a lot of people did pick up their pods, and the streets were filled with happy pod people last night. After all, Sierra Madre is famous for that.

However, Halloween is over. There is nothing left but the sugar hangover. And the time has now come to return your pods to the city so that they can be put back into storage at the Hart Park House until next year.

The City will be collecting pods today at Kersting Court from 10AM until noon. Please, let's not have any of the kinds of unfortunate incidents we had last year.


  1. thats kind of funny really. I imagine Bruce addressing some letters to the dirty thirty and as he's glancing at the mailing addresses the lights start to come on.."wait a minute these things are addressed to me...?" at least hopefully he was smart enough not to waste the postage.

    On the other hand, I bet since the city doesn't even know how to quantify their water losses through the pipes... there may not be an address associated with that loss....?

    1. If thirty users of water in a city of 1700 home, over 10,000 people are the culprits of excessive water use then we should have a very simple solution and be able to meet our reduction levels, BUT SOMEHOW THEY ARE FEEDING US A BUNCH OF TIHS LLUB,

    2. There are 4,500 homes

  2. Get real here?
    The Number One waster of water is Bruce Inman's own Department -Public Works. They leak away 30% of all the potable water in Sierra Madre.

  3. It is amazing that even though our pipes are leaking there is no way to bypass all the city/state regs to get it started NOW! The CC okayed the money, now we have to wait until, probably, the first of the year to begina any repairs. There must be a way for them to figure out how much water is being lost, maybe they just don't want us to know.

    1. Our baseline numbers should have begun the date we originally started saving water, not at a later date after we had conserved water . Was this by design?

  4. I doubt Kensington is in the top 30. Lawns use about x1000 the water use of a person. The top users used to be the city (because of watering the parks), the Monastery (because of vast acreage) and the Elementary School. The Elementary School implemented water wise plantings a long while back and cut their use in half. But because their real estate remains so large, they still might be high up there.

    Basically anyone with a quarter acre yard or larger that has lots of grass needs to cut their water use by over a third.

  5. There is a simple way to measure the water lost to leaking. Just read all the meters on the same day for two months. Keep track of the amount of water used to do the flushing and we will know the amount that is leaked.

    Elaine said this will cost too much to read all the meters at the same time instead of alternating months. Which means to me that she does not want us to know how much water is leaking.

    1. Ya think so? I agree. How can they fine US if they are at fault?

    2. The city is never. When things aren't working it is because you refused to pay enough taxes.

  6. Is attendance mandatory? What happens if you don't show up?

    1. You get put in a pod.

  7. 10:21 Why do you ask? Are you in the top 30?

  8. Alas, pods are no longer kept at the Hart Park House, the seniors have taken it over and are storing their bingo games there instead. Hopefully, the pods will someday take over the seniors and there will no longer be a storage problem at the park house.

    1. How about council chambers?