By Jim Walker
Signal Staff Writer
If you’re like me, you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with stressful news lately, and I, for one, was really hoping we’d have a super-wet water year in California so that talk of drought would be off the table for a while. Consequently, it pains me to now pound more splinters under your fingernails.
Though we have a bit more time left for more rain to come this water year, and though we’ve had more rain this year than last, we are still below average and still in a drought.
It is estimated that, in California, we’d need 150% of our yearly average precipitation to fully recover from the current drought, which began in latter 2019.
Last June, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 15%. Some progress has been made, but not enough. And that, combined with continued drought, has us on the
verge of even more stringent water use cutbacks.
However, for the moment, we are still in Stage 1 Water Use Restrictions.
Most of the SCV receives its water from Santa Clarita Valley Water, and, in a November press release, SCV Water’s General Manager Matt Stone said, “Our customers’ efforts are trending in the right direction, but we still need to work together to ramp up additional conservation across the Santa Clarita Valley, so we can achieve our voluntary target (15%). We’ve saved during past droughts, and we’re confident our customers will take this call to practice voluntary conservation to heart.”
According to SCV Water Communications Manager Kathie Martin, “We are still at Stage 1, but the governor has asked all water agencies to move toward Stage 2. That will have to go through our board later this month.”
So, what does being in Stage 1 Water Use Restrictions mean to you? Well, these easy-dos are:
• Aim to eliminate runoff from your landscape.
• Use a hose with a shutoff nozzle when washing your car.
• Use a broom, not water, to sweep
your sidewalk, driveway and hardscape.
• Turn off your irrigation during measurable rain (0.25 inch), and for at least 48 hours after.
• Only use fountains with recirculating pumps.
Easy peasy, right? So, let’s get on these while we can. And, when tighter restrictions come, which is likely, we can all do our parts there, as well.
The SCV Water website, yourscv water.com, is an amazing hub of information concerning our water supply, how to conserve it, and a whole lot more. There are lots of resources there for residential customers, businesses and HOAs, including information about rebates, videos on leak investigation and fixing a leaky toilet, info on irrigation system checkups, steps to replace your water-hungry lawn, and what to plant instead. There are important, and more specific, sub-links listed at the end of this article.
Beyond the recommendations for Stage 1, SCV Water offers a number of excellent water-saving tips. However, Martin emphasizes the top four of them here:
“About 60% of residential water use is outdoors,” she said, “and it is estimated that more than half of that is
wasted as runoff and overspray. We need to water plants, not pavement.”
So, her No. 1 water-saving tip is to, “Check your irrigation system for leaks and overspray, and adjust your timers for the minimum watering necessary.” With a recommended five-minute cycle, you can cut that down to four and save 20%. This will save runoff.
Inside the home, Martin emphasizes checking for leaky faucets and toilets. “Leaks here waste large amounts of water over time. It really adds up,” she said.
Martin also recommends doing only “full loads of laundry and dishes in your appliances.” This will save a lot of water over time.
“Take five-minute ‘power showers,’” she said. With a little hustle, you can do all your body washing in that time and save several gallons of water each time.
“We are in the midst of an historic drought,” Martin summarized, “and while SCV Water plans ahead for dry years, every gallon of water matters. We just don’t have a drop to waste. We encourage everybody to visit yourscvwater.com for a ton of resources that they can use to help us reach our savings goals.”
For more information, visit yourscv water.com/drought-ready.