Coming as not a complete surprise considering the Santa Clarita Valley just experienced one of its wettest winters ever, the SCV Water Agency nonetheless made it official Wednesday: The area’s water supplier is no longer operating under its contingency plans for a drought.
SCV Water General Manager Matt Stone said in a news release the agency “has deactivated its Water Shortage Contingency Plan,” and its corresponding ordinance.
“Record rain and snowpack filling the state’s reservoirs, along with changes to statewide drought emergency compliance requirements, have led us to move from Stage 2 to a No Shortage Stage,” Stone wrote in a statement. “We are thankful for our community’s response and dedication to reducing water waste and consumption during Stage 2. Together, we have saved a remarkable 4.1 billion gallons, equivalent to a 16.4% reduction. As we move forward, we kindly urge everyone to keep embracing the spirit of conservation, making it part of our California way of life.”
The goal for Stage-2 conservation efforts was at least a 15% reduction, according to Kevin Strauss, spokesman for SCV Water. Now that there’s no local drought-contingency ordinance in place, that conservation goal reverts to normal conditions, he added, which would be 2% to 3%.
However, the release noted the entire state is not golden yet, with respect to its supply.
Agency officials also said in the release that while local efforts exceeded the conservation targets, the previous multiyear drought used about 45% of the banked supplies the SCV purchases from areas like Kern County, which still need to be replenished.
SCV Water stores about 141,000 acre-feet of water in Kern County, which the agency can access in dry years, such as times of severe drought, according to the SCV Water website.
Kern represents just one of the agency’s partners for its water-banking program. The agency imports about 69% of its water supply. Groundwater makes up 31% and recycled water is less than 1%.
With Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide drought emergency declaration still in effect, the State Water Resources Control Board has continued emergency regulations that restrict water waste activities.
“Though SCV Water is in a No Shortage Stage, the public is reminded that the following activities are prohibited,” according to SCV Water:
· Allowing runoff when watering with potable water.
· Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways, except for health or safety reasons.
· Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars.
· Watering outdoors during and within 48 hours following measurable rainfall.
· Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water.
· And, using potable water to irrigate non-functional turf at commercial, industrial and institutional sites. Potable water is not prohibited to the extent necessary to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-turf plantings or for health and safety needs.