Message is clear:

Last Saturday Crescenta Valley Water District opened its doors at the Glenwood Avenue facility for Water Awareness Day. District employees flipped hamburgers and made sno-cones for community members who enjoyed a relaxing afternoon learning about what they can do to conserve water.

This is an annual awareness event. Each year the water available for Californians continues to dwindle while demand rises. The battle between conservation and consumer has been going on for years, but this year the choice is to save or pay — really pay.

CVWD supplies its customers in part from ground water but must also import water from Foothill Municipal Water District which receives its supply from the Metropolitan Water District. In April, the MWD told its distributors that they would be receiving less water.

“We will have significant, 10% to 15% [reduction of water] for the agencies; less water this year than the base years 2004, 2005 and 2006,” reported Nina Jazmadarian, FMWD manager.

The shortage is due to two main factors, Jazmadarian said. One is the drought that continues to plague the state and the other is the pumping restriction on the Northern California delta due to environmental concerns. That shortfall to FMWD equates to less water for all the companies they distribute to, including CVWD.

This will result in mandatory water conservation required by July 1 for CVWD customers, according to Dennis Erdman, CVWD general manager.

“The message we want to deliver and to continue to deliver is to ask our customers to partner with us in saving water, particularly outdoor water usage,” Erdman said.

He added that most residents have already made improvements to the inside of their homes and, although more can always be done to conserve, it is the outside use that needs to be curtailed.

CVWD has created a brochure that outlines what will be asked of customers to save water. Measures include no water hose usage on any paved areas. Additionally, the use of water for any purpose that results in excessive runoff onto any paved or landscaped areas will not be allowed. Water used to clean, fill or maintain levels in decorative fountains or similar structures must be part of a recirculation system. Leaks from any facility, inside and out, must be repaired within 72 hours after the customer is notified of the leak. There will be no watering, sprinkling or irrigating between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. of any landscaped or vegetated areas. Exceptions are made for drip irrigation systems or weather-based irrigation controllers. And residential timers cannot run for more than a total of 15 minutes, regardless of the number of stations.

The district will charge significantly for any household that goes over its allotted amount of water. Residents can track their usage on their bill.

To help with these efforts, at Water Awareness Day the district handed out shower heads designed to save water, hose nozzles that cut off the flow of water to save when it is not being used and kitchen faucet attachments that help control water waste. CVWD also handed out shower timers.

“I know it is difficult,” Erdman said. “Teenagers like to take those long showers.”

He added that using a timer may not stop those long showers, but it could help raise awareness of the amount of time spent and water used.

While the adults learned conservation information, children enjoyed a bounce house and got a chance to pet a shark, among other sea creatures.

The Aquarium of the Pacific was on hand to help teach kids, and adults, how water affects everyone and everything on the planet. Representatives gave demonstrations on how water irrigation works and what really happens to litter when it is thrown to the ground, of how it makes its way into storm drains and out to sea.

The day was fun but there was an undercurrent of urgency at conservation booths.

“We love our green lawns and our [California lifestyle],” Erdman said. “But we have to conserve.”

Crescenta Valley residents will have their chance to express an opinion on the city’s proposed 10% mandatory cut in water usage.

Glendale will hold a community meeting Wednesday, June 3 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Sparr Heights Community Center, 1613 Glencoe Way.

Glendale Water & Power is updating the city’s ordinance for review and approval by the City Council, with action due to begin June 19. The proposal must be approved by the City Council prior to the implementation of mandatory water conservation.

GWP provides water to 32,500 customers. The city-owned utility also generates, transmits, and distributes electricity to 83,300 residential, commercial and industrial customers.

“We are all in this together,” Erdman said.

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