Results of the Special City Council Meeting on Mandatory Water Conservation

The Sierra Madre City Council held a special City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 19th to address water customers concerns with the mandatory water conservation measures adopted on May 28, 2013. The major outcome of the meeting was the decision to consider an amendment to the Water Conservation Ordinance which, once formally adopted, will institute summer and winter conservation targets rather than an annual target. The amended Water Conservation Ordinance is scheduled for the City Council’s July 9, 2013 agenda.

The Summer and Winter Conservation Targets will each encompass 6 months (3 billing cycles). Each water customer’s use will be averaged for each of these periods to determine the customer’s average usage and seasonal conservation target. This will result in less variation in the “service target” during rainy months or extremely hot months.

As a part of the amended water conservation ordinance, the Council also provided direction to amend the Multi-Unit Residential and Commercial Unit Conservation Goals to take into consideration the number of units in the complex. The Council asked that the drafted amendment remove Code Sections 13.24.140(C) and 150 which calls for the mandatory installation of a flow restrictor for any customer who violates the ordinance more than twice; however, the financial penalties will remain. The City Council directed staff to return to a future meeting with a report regarding implementing gray water systems as a condition of new development approvals.

In the meantime, the Council has tasked the City’s soon to be established Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Commission to provide a recommendation regarding the possible future use of flow restrictors. Addressing long term conservation measures will be one of the Commission’s primary goals over the next year.

What Comes Next?
The City Council is scheduled to consider the revised Water Conservation Ordinance at the July 9, 2013 City Council meeting. If adopted, City staff will re-calculate the seasonal conservation targets and mail out revised conservation target notices to all water customers.

Everyone will need to take a pro-active approach to conserve water in order to reduce the amount of water used this summer. The City is working in conjunction with the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District on extensive water conservation outreach throughout the community. A water supply “thermometer” will be placed in Kersting Court and updated weekly to illustrate the current underground water levels. Light pole banners encouraging residents to “Know Your H2O” and to be “H2O Heroes” will be hung in mid-July. Coming this summer and early fall, do-it-yourself videos will be available and workshops will be held on how to conduct your own water audit, the right amount of irrigation, and create your own xeriscaping.

For more information on how you can conserve or on the mandatory conservations measures, please visit www.cityofsierramadre.com.