WATER WATCH: State Lowers Glendora’s Conservation Mandate

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With an historic drought continuing to linger and with little help from El Niño, the state has revised its mandated conservation requirement for water suppliers, offering some slight relief.

Glendora’s conservation standard, previously among the highest at 36 percent, was lowered just two points to 34 percent by the State Water Resources Control Board March 1. The revisions were made to acknowledge the varying geological and climatological factors unique to the state’s 400-plus water agencies.

The city unveiled an expensive urgency drought ordinance last May. In that time, the city replaced 400,000 square feet of turf, installed 360 higher efficient water devices and appliances and distributed more than 1,000 rain barrels. Despite all that,  Glendora fell short of its conservation standard at 31.7 percent, City Staff said.

Water agencies, including Glendora, protested the Water Board’s “one size fits all approach” in determining conservation standards, which were adopted in May of 2015.

“While the Water Board was developing the rules to implement the Governor’s Executive Order, on numerous occasions we indicated that the one size fits all approach ignores geographic land use, business necessities, weather and many other elements that legitimately impact how much water is consumed,” City Staff said.

The “monster El Niño” predicted by meteorologists to occur during winter and spring has largely petered out. Despite having received more rainfall in the last few months, rain totals have been well short for this time of year.

In order to continue with meeting the conservation mandate, city staff will request in the 2016-17 budget to keep some of the temporary staff to prolong the rebate program, helping customers reduce consumption and to conduct off-hour conservation patrolling.

City staff will also request additional funding for rain barrel giveaways and a scaled-down turf removal program.

“After four years of extreme drought, there is still a need for Californians to keep up their stellar conservation practices,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “This updated regulation acknowledges that need, while making adjustments in response to feedback from water suppliers and others.”

The extended and revised emergency regulations will endure through October 31.

The Glendora City Council will discuss the revised regulations at the regularly scheduled meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 116 E. Foothill Blvd.