By Jim Holt
Senior Investigative Reporter
Water use restrictions across the Santa Clarita Valley are now in effect, limiting lawn watering to specific days of the week, due to the ongoing drought.
Officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, citing severe drought, announced plans Friday to ramp up restrictions already in place.
The move comes, they said, as California and the Santa Clarita Valley continue to face a severe drought with no end in sight.
The agency’s board of directors voted Tuesday to move the agency into Stage 2 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.
“Despite planning for dry times, this drought has become so severe that we are having to dip into our banked water supplies,” SCV Water’s General Manager Matt Stone was quoted as saying in a news release issued by the agency Friday.
“Moving to Stage 2 will place new water restrictions in place to eliminate water waste and ensure we have enough water to meet the needs of our community,” he said.
Water users are being asked to voluntarily reduce their water use by up to 20%.
No “enforcement action” is expected to be carried out, however, until all water users have been notified directly of the changes.
“Stage 2 is effective immediately, but we will not take any enforcement actions until all have been notified,” agency spokeswoman Kathie Martin said Friday. “We are doing a direct mail Drought Bulletin to all customers with more detailed information and resources that will go out soon.”
Speaking directly to the issue of enforcement, she said: “We have an ordinance in place that has fines as one enforcement measure should they be needed, but our primary focus is education and awareness until we get the word out.”
The agency has a tip line in place for anyone wanting to report suspected water waste. They’re invited to report water waste at www.DroughtReadySCV.com.
Here’s what local water users need to know about the changes regarding water use. The new water requirements:
• Limit watering to three days per week. Odd addresses Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Even addresses Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. No watering on Saturdays.
• Limit watering station run times: Maximum of two five-minute cycles per station, per watering day (10 minutes maximum.)
• Limit watering times of day (morning and evening watering). May to October: 12 midnight to 9 a.m. and/or 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. November to April: 12 midnight to 10 a.m. and/or 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Existing water use restrictions in effect since November as part of Phase 1 remain in place, and prohibit:
• Allowing runoff onto non-irrigated areas when irrigating with potable (drinking) water.
• Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars.
• Using potable water to wash sidewalks, driveways and hardscapes.
• Irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following precipitation of a quarter-inch or more.
• The irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians.
Water officials reminded customers in the news release Friday that they are eligible for financial rebates and other incentives intended to help customers increase water-use efficiency, including:
• Turf conversion rebates.
• Irrigation system efficiency upgrade rebates (smart irrigation controllers, high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles, pressure regulating devices, drip irrigation and more).
• Free home drought-ready checkups.
• Online WaterSMART Workshop, gardening classes and other resources.
Water officials want their customers to know that a 10-minute inspection of their sprinkler system can save considerable water.
For homes, businesses, and landscapes, they recommend setting timers to meet the new watering days and duration and repair any leaks or overspray. Then inside, check for leaks in toilets and other fixtures.
Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of similar stringent measures.
The Metropolitan Water District this week announced a Water Shortage Emergency for 6 million customers, cutting watering to one day a week. This, however, does not affect SCV Water customers.
SCV Water typically gets half its water from the State Water Project and half from local groundwater wells. It also has a banked water supply stored underground in Kern County in wet years.
As the drought enters its third year, the agency is also asking customers to conserve to help the agency maintain flexibility to meet demand should the drought continue, Martin said.
Anyone wanting to know more about rebates offered by the agency is advised to visit yourscvwater.com/save-water-money/#_rebates. SCV Water is hosting a Virtual Drought Forum on May 10 at 6 p.m., where attendees will hear from the experts about drought status, water supply and conservation measures, as well as be able to ask us questions. Customers can register for the Virtual Drought Forum at bit.ly/2022VirtualDroughtForum.