Heights to reduce water usage
By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal
La Habra Heights residents must cutback its water usage after the LHH Water District Board voted June 11 to comply with the mandatory 25 percent water use reduction handed down by the state two months ago.
Director and Vice President of the La Habra Heights County Water District Pam McVicar briefly detailed to the city council at its June meeting, the specific cutbacks residents must face, including limiting the watering of ornamental landscapes or turf to only two days a week or face a possible $500 fine.
County Water district Ordinance 15-01, passed with a unanimous vote, keeping the city in compliance with the state’s mandate.
Under the emergency rules, residents in LH Heights must limit watering areas like the lawn to two days a week before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Homes with addresses ending in odd numbers are allowed to water on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while residents in even numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate their property on Sundays and Thursdays.
Commercial and institutional properties must also face the same cutbacks.
Businesses, like the golf course or The Park, amongst other requirements, must face either a two day per week water use regulation or a 25 percent reduction in its water use as compared to its water usage in the same months compared to 2013.
“The city will comply,” said Mayor Michael Higgins in a phone interview.
“There’s going to be people that won’t comply with anything, and there’s going to be other people that will do more than their share to cutback on water, and there will be all these people in between,” Higgins explained. “We’re going to have to deal with it.”
The mayor believes residents throughout the state of California should look into replacing some of its water intense landscape with more sustainable drought tolerant landscape.
“People that have these big lawns, and it’s a big question if they will do something about it,’” Higgins said. “I think some will.”
Higgins said he doesn’t believe the city has enough money to use as incentive to cause any drought tolerant changes, but he said Los Angeles County offers some programs.
Concerned about steps the city might be able to take to help reduce property owner’s water usage, Mayor Pro Tem Kyle Miller asked council to take-up grey water usage at the July meeting.
Grey water is the water generated from households or office buildings, aside for the wastewater from toilets.
Miller hopes to search for a way to allow residents to use grey water, or recycled water, for landscape usage, acknowledging that the city does not enforce or make the water rules, but the water district does.
“This is just making mandated which was requested before by the water department,” Miller said about the water boards recent vote. “They made it mandatory because the state gave them no option.”
“If there are some violations, I recommend an education approach,” Miller said, although he notes the city has the ability to fine non-compliant residents.
McVicar said the city will not have to worry about the drought effecting the city’s ability to fight fires.
“The La Habra Heights county water districts will have plenty of water to fight fires,” she said.
The city built a three million gallon holding tank a few years ago that provides an emergency water supply, which was recommended by the state.
Residents should be concerned about clearing the dry brush around their property, McVicar stated.
And Miller has already started letting the landscape at his home succumb to the area’s natural colors brought on by the Southern California climate.
“It’s not green,” he said. ’I’m letting it get a little brown, and I’m okay with that.”