State water officials call for water saving despite the rain

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Despite all the rain dumped on the Santa Clarita Valley these past two months, the drought persists according to state officials and, since it does they say, water conservation habits should also continue.

On Wednesday, the State Water Resources Control Board extended its existing water conservation regulations, which prohibit wasteful practices such as watering lawns right after rain and set a conservation mandate only for water suppliers that do not have enough water reserves to withstand three more dry years.

Local water officials with the Castaic Lake Water Agency – SCV’s water wholesaler – say they’ll adhere to conservation mandates laid down by the state.

“The CLWA will continue to comply with the SWRCB mandates,” Dirk Marks, CLWA’s water resources manager told The Signal Thursday.

“At this time those are just the common sense conservation measures such as not watering within 48 hours of it raining and avoiding irrigation runoff.”

Marks and state water officials caution against thinking the drought is over because of the rain received this year.

“While the SCV is experiencing a much better rainy season this year,” Marks said. “Our groundwater basins have not yet recovered from several extremely dry winters.

“We encourage our customers to continue with those common sense water conservation habits developed over the previous years,” he said.

Groundwater, the source of at least a third of California’s water supplies, remains significantly depleted in many areas, according to state water officials.

Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said this week: “These regulations have helped Californians rise to the occasion and show what they can do with conservation, while providing flexibility based on differing local water supply conditions across the state.

“We are beyond happy that water conditions continue to improve this year, but the rainy season isn’t over yet and some areas of the state continue to suffer significant drought impacts.

As glorious as the first half of the season has been, we know that weather can change quickly, and vary depending on where you are, so it is most prudent to wait a bit longer until close of the rainy season to take stock of the statewide situation and decide what to do next.”

While many parts of the state have benefited from this year’s rain and snow, other areas continue to experience the effects of drought, including Central Valley communities that still depend on water tanks and bottled water.

California has undergone more than five years of extreme drought with significant impacts to communities, agriculture, and fish and wildlife.

This week’s extension of conservation mandates also keeps in place monthly reporting of water use by urban water agencies, and reasonable prohibitions against wasteful practices such as watering lawns within 48 hours of a rainstorm, hosing off sidewalks and driveways, or over watering landscaping to the point where water runs into the streets.

Prohibitions also remain against homeowners associations taking action against homeowners trying to conserve during a declared drought, and those prohibitions are extended to cities and municipalities.

The rules had been set to expire Feb. 28.

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