Los Angeles County supervisors proclaimed a state of local emergency Tuesday in Bouquet Canyon, an unincorporated area in Santa Clarita Valley, paving the way for officials to take flood control measures without going through the usual permitting process.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, whose district includes Bouquet Canyon, said a series of fires and storm events have led to a buildup of sediment in Bouquet Canyon Creek.
That reduces its carrying capacity, which results in water flooding Bouquet Canyon Road after heavy rains, Antonovich said. It also reduces recharge to groundwater wells serving about 150 nearby properties.
Residents of Bouquet Canyon came to urge the supervisors to vote in favor of the proposal, speaking of dwindling water supplies and fears of flooding.
"I have a family of six. Right now we cannot run our water for 20 minutes," Bouquet Canyon resident George Nua told the supervisors. "We can't drink the water. Sometimes it's so murky coming out of our faucets, that it's just not potable. So I would really appreciate whatever help you guys can get to get this resolved."
The supervisors asked the governor's Office of Emergency Services to declare an emergency as well, and to waive regulations to allow for an expedited cleanup of the creek bed.
The vote won't help with the rain that's expected this week, with the county anticipating its heaviest rainstorm in two years. County Public Works Director Gail Farber said county staff has been taking steps to reduce the risk of flooding in vulnerable areas, including the sites of recent wildfires where the risk of mud and debris flows is greater.