SCV Water releases water-shortage plan for public comment

SCV Water hosted a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony at a new water treatment facility near Auto Center Drive in Valencia on Oct. 5, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency released a draft of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan Friday in order to receive public feedback before finalizing. 

Community members are welcome to review the document meant to plan for water shortages caused by drought or natural disasters, and provide the agency with feedback until April 12, before the plan is finalized by SCV Water officials. 

“We’re committed to ensuring that our customers have and continue to have a safe and reliable water supply. It’s about preparing now for the events that could jeopardize our water supply in the future,” SCV Water’s General Manager Matt Stone wrote in a prepared statement. “Good planning is instrumental to the creation of our Water Shortage Contingency Plan and we welcome public input and participation in the plan’s drafting.” 

The contingency plan is required by the California Urban Water Management Planning Act, which states water agencies in California must have an outlined plan for water conservation in the event that a drought or other natural disaster, such as an earthquake or fire, causes a water shortage. 

“It’s an important planning piece to have should we face a critical water shortage, but is not being developed in response to an imminent concern,” Kathie Martin, communications manager for SCV water, wrote in an email. 

The agency has developed an action plan, which divides levels of water shortage concern into six stages. Depending on the stage, customers will be asked to reduce water usage by a certain percentage. 

  • Stage one — “watchful conditions,” asking residents to voluntarily reduce water intake by 10%. 
  • Stage two — “moderate shortage” and voluntarily reduce by 20%. 
  • Stage three — “significant shortage” and voluntarily reduce by 30%. 
  • Stage four — “critical shortage” with mandatory reduction by 40%. 
  • Stage five — “emergency shortage” with mandatory reduction by 50%. 
  • Stage six — “catastrophic shortage” with water only being used for essentials. 

According to data released by the National Integrated Drought Information System, Los Angeles County is in a moderate drought, with last month being the second driest February on record in 127 years. 

The plan also outlines the need for a task force in the event a drought and its stage are determined. The task force will decide on the appropriate action to take, or how much water intake should be reduced, and monitor the situation until conditions improve. The taskforce will be comprised of employees in the agency and will be developed when needed. 

Water priority lists of water uses are also outlined in the plan, which places water use for health and safety, such as firefighters and residential use, first. Following in the list of priorities are commercial or industrial use, permanent crops, annual crops, landscaping and new demand, which includes constructions projects which are already approved prior to a water shortage. 

The agency will review and integrate all comments gathered by the public into the plan and present it to the agency’s board of directors during the April 26 public hearing, when the board is expected to make a decision on the plan. 

The public can view the contingency plan and provide SCV Water with feedback beginning March 12 until 5 p.m. April 12 on the SCV Water Agency website at 

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