2017-06-16 / Community

‘Voluntary conservation’ in effect

By Melissa Simon

Simi Valley residents are no longer required to limit the number of days a week they water their lawns, but city officials are still encouraging locals to keep up their conservation efforts.

The City Council unanimously voted June 5 to repeal a Ventura County Waterworks District No. 8 resolution adopted last July that placed strict guidelines on water usage. District No. 8 serves about 60 percent of Simi Valley, while Golden State Water Co. serves the remaining 40 percent.

While last July’s resolution limited irrigation to three days per week in the summer and two days a week in the winter, last week’s repeal means District No. 8 customers are now on a “voluntary conservation program,” said Ron Fuchiwaki, Simi’s public works director.

“I think everybody knows that water restrictions and the drought are done,” Fuchiwaki said at the June 5 meeting. “We don’t want them to use what they used to . . . but they can use a little more to get their lawns green again.”

In April, Gov. Jerry Brown rescinded California’s drought state of emergency. The State Water Resources Control Board, which oversees California’s resources, subsequently revised its regulations, prompting local agencies like District No. 8 to follow suit. Golden State Water Co. had already rescinded similar restrictions in April.

‘Way of life’

Calleguas Municipal Water District, which receives its wholesale supply from Metropolitan Water District, provides H2O to most local purveyors in Ventura County, including District No. 8.

Eric Bergh, Calleguas’ water resources manager, said the agency supports the City Council’s decision.

“We feel that these local actions to scale back the extreme conservation measures that have been in place the last couple years are appropriate,” Bergh told the Simi Valley Acorn. “Still, that doesn’t mean the long-term water-use efficiency call doesn’t remain in place.”

Mark Zimmer, coastal general manager for Golden State Water Co., said in a statement that customers should “make conservation a way of life.”

Councilmember Keith Mashburn told the Simi Valley Acorn the community still needs to “keep a good eye” on water use.

“I think we have to be very careful in terms of how much (water) we actually free up to use, but I don’t think we’re in a critical state anymore,” the councilman said.

“If anything looks like it’s becoming an issue, then we have to err on the side of stricter regulations again. We’re in a position where we always have to be aware because California has backed us into a corner where we don’t have free-flowing water anymore.”

Although Simi Valley residents may now water their lawns seven days a week, certain regulations in place since 2009 will remain.

Locals are still asked to limit watering to 15 minutes at a time and to avoid irrigation between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. And residents are not permitted to water during or 48 hours after a measurable rainfall.

More about local water use rules can be found at simivalley.org under “Water Conservation Information.”

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