By Raymond Mendoza
Walnut/Diamond Bar – The major topic of the evening for the Walnut City Council was California’s drought concerns as members from the Walnut Valley Water District, Suburban Water Systems and Golden State Water Company all spoke to urge residents to cut down their water usage during the worst drought California has seen in years.
After Governor Jerry Brown called for the State to cut 25 percent of its water usage on Apr. 1, California’s cities and water districts have started scrambling to inform residents of new restrictions in the hopes of reaching the newly mandated goal.
Some new regulations included not being allowed to irrigate turf or ornamental landscapes for 48 hours following measurable precipitation, restaurants only giving water upon request, hotels and motels cutting down on laundry service frequency, and having water utility companies inform their customers when they are aware of leaks that are within a customer’s control.
Darleen Phares, Water Conservation Manager for Suburban Water Systems, said that residential areas will be limited to certain days for watering their lawns and that no lawn watering can be done on Fridays.
Walnut Valley Water District General Manager, Mike Holmes, answered questions along with Golden State Water Company General Manager, Benjamin Lewis, and Phares, further explaining that Walnut residents can help by following renewed ordinances and new restrictions.
Furthermore, cash penalties will be enforced for reported water wasting for residents and businesses.
Golden State Water Company urged residents to call its 24-hour hotline at (800) 999-4033, or visit bewaterwise.com or gswater.com/drought, to analyze their usage and to identify other opportunities to improve their water-use efficiency.
Following the presentation, the council members approved the minutes of their Apr. 8 meeting; Resolution No. 15-20 for claims and demands in the amount of $697,250.56; a donation to the American Cancer Society 2015 Walnut Relay for Life for support services and equipment; and the approval of final landscape plans for a new residential development located at 650 Camino De Teodoro within the C-1 Zone.
After the council delivered their comments and updates, they adjourned for the evening with plans to meet May 13 at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.
Like the City of Walnut, “25” was the big number of the evening at the Diamond Bar City Council’s Apr. 21 meeting, as a member of the Walnut Valley Water District informed council members and residents about the intense drought that California is currently facing; meaning that the city would have to cut its total water usage down by 25 percent.
Walnut Valley Water District General Manager, Mike Holmes, initially commended Diamond Bar residents for reducing their water usage as the state goes through the worst drought in recent history, but he also stated that even more conservation is needed because of a lack of rainfall in the last few years has pushed California into a state of crisis.
Holmes said Diamond Bar is on track to cut its city-wide water usage by 20 percent by 2020 – a number originally created to combat the drought when Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor- but now recent concerns have now pushed that number up to 25 percent.
“We’re in the fourth year of a drought, this is urgent, the time to be concerned is now and the time to act is now and everyone in California needs to do their part,” Holmes said.
During Holmes’ presentation, he mentioned the reality of the situation by noting that 27 million Californians live in an exceptional drought area and that Diamond Bar, in particular, is 100 percent dependant on imported water.
Since the City is mandating more water cuts, they are restricting use of outdoor residential irrigation to two days a week, no watering of lawns two days before or after predicted rainfall, food establishments should only bring water to patrons upon request, and hotels should reduce the amount of times they wash towels and linens.
Holmes said residents can get water saving tips, rebates and incentives at bewaterwise.com, and to continue the efforts to bring the state’s water usage down as the drought continues.
After the presentation, the schedule of future events was listed with the next Parks and Recreation Commission meeting on Apr. 23, Arbor Day on Apr. 24, the Planning Commission meeting on Apr. 28 and the next City Council meeting on May 5.
The Council then approved all items on the Consent Calendar, including the minutes for the meeting on Apr. 7; the Traffic and Transportation Commission meeting on Mar. 12; ratification of the check register dated Apr. 12 through Apr. 15, totaling $1,246,154.27; the approval of Contract Amendment No. 4 with RKA Consulting Group for Federal Funding Compliance Services related to the Grand Avenue Beautification Project in the amount of $24,220; and the approval of a Notice of Completion for the Community Development Block Grant Area 2 Sidewalk Pre-placement project.
Following the final items and the council member reports, the City Council adjourned with plans to meet again on May 5 at 6:30 p.m., in the AQMD/Government Center Auditorium at 21865 Copley Drive.