Alhambra City Council voted Monday to adopt a resolution to conserve water in the city, a response to a state requirement that all local communities enact water conservation policies.
Starting Aug. 1, Alhambra residents are prohibited from hosing a sidewalk or driveway, filling a decorative fountain unless it uses a water recycling system, leaving leaks or water runoffs unrepaired, washing vehicles with a hose that does not have an operating shut-off valve, and refilling pools or spas. Landscape watering is restricted to no more than every three days and is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Restaurants and bars in Alhambra are only to serve drinking water should upon request. Additional details can be found in the Water Shortage Plan II.
The move complies with a State Water Resources Control Board emergency regulation approved on July 15 that requires local agencies to conserve water due to California's drought. The three-year water shortage is the most severe in generations, and the dry spell can be seen here in the San Gabriel Valley: the Groundwater Basin is at its lowest point in almost 20 years, according to Dennis Ahlen, deputy director of the Alhambra Utilities Division.
"The Baldwin Park Key Well, which is how Watermasters measure the water in the Basin, is at a historic low," Ahlen said.
The city's water conservation regulations are designed to curb this shortage, and city staff will inform residents about the new policies through notices on the city's website, on social media, and at City Hall, Ahlen said. Residents will also receive inserts in Around Alhambra and their water bills.
Violators of the water conservation ordinance may receive a written notice from the city, followed by fines that range from 15-50 percent of a resident's water bill. Upon a fourth violation, city staff can install devices that limit water flow at a resident's home for a minimum of two days. Despite the enforcement policies put in place, city officials noted that they are not looking to fine people but instead are hoping to work with residents to conserve water.
Neighboring cities have enacted similar water conservation policies. In Pasadena, residents are limited to landscape watering twice a week in the summer, and before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Repeat offenders can face fines of up to $500 for residents and $1,000 for commercial property owners. In Monterey Park, residents cannot water their lawn between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and must repair leaks as soon as possible.
Alhambra's water restrictions will be revisited in April 2015, if not repealed earlier.
Weren't able to attend the meeting? You can watch it here. City Council usually meets every second and fourth Monday of the month on the second floor of City Hall: 111 S. First St., Alhambra, Calif., 91801. The August 11 meeting was canceled. The next regular meeting will be on Aug. 20 at 5:30 p.m.