Just days after a statewide mandate to conserve water in extraordinary drought conditions took effect, members of the La Cañada Flintridge City Council decided to reconvene a blue ribbon task force to coordinate local conservation efforts.
Richard Atwater, director of Foothill Municipal Water District, shared in a presentation before the council Monday what local water-retail agencies are doing to comply with portions of a July 15 decision from the State Water Resources Control Board that allows municipalities and water agencies to fine water wasters up to $500 per day.
The regulation also requires water suppliers to put in place a water shortage contingency plan and impose mandatory restrictions on outdoor irrigation.
That decision officially took effect July 29. But because the city of La Cañada Flintridge does not operate its own utility, it is up to local water agencies, such as FMWD and Crescenta Valley Water District, to make sure residents are aware of the importance of not wasting water.
“Like most communities in Southern California, we will certainly ask the public if you see somebody in your neighborhood who is maybe violating these regulations, we’ll follow up,” he said. “It really is the responsibility of everybody to do their part.”
Ann Wilson, a senior management analyst for the city, recommended council reconvene the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Local Water Issues.
The 16-member panel of water experts and public officials originally formed in 2009 to work with the council to adopt conservation-aligned regulations and educate businesses and the public about reduced water consumption.
“It would be useful to have that task force put back together,” Atwater said. “We just don’t know when (this drought) is going to end.”
Atwater said the city has already reduced its water use by as much as 28%, working with La Cañada Unified School district to adopt a “deficit irrigation mode” for watering jointly operated sports fields, and using recirculated water in the fountain at Mayors’ Discovery Park on Foothill Boulevard.
Mayor Pro Tem Don Voss asked Atwater whether water agencies would be fined, under the new regulations, for a July 29 water-main break on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, which saw the loss of more than 20 million gallons of water and flooded structures at nearby UCLA.
“Our imported water system was built back in the 1950s,” Atwater said of La Cañada’s pipes. “These are the types of things we should be working on proactively.”
City Manager Mark Alexander said he hoped to return to the city council sometime in late September with more information on the re-formation of the Blue Ribbon Committee.