City of Santa Paula declares Stage Three Water Emergency

By Debra Tash

Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez

Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez

At their October 6th 2014 meeting the Santa Paula Council voted to comply with the State Water Resources Control Board regulations.  Interim Public Works Director Brian Yanez did a short presentation.  The State Water Board passed a mandatory 20% reduction in July of this year. That mandate will end in April of 2015.  “We are depending on our community to help us.”  Residents of Santa Paula will be asked to not water down their driveways, fix leaks within 48 hours, no wasteful outdoor watering, etc. comply with much of what other communities are already doing in the County.

The city codified its own reduction plan in 2005. Section 58 was referred to frequently at tonight’s meeting. The ordinance on water usage/restrictions and regulations can be found HERE  Yanez said that the basin, which is managed by United Water, is only five feet above its lowest level, which was recorded in 1990.  Santa Paula has reached 90% of its total water allocation for the year.  “City hall is already taking steps to converse as well.”  Santa Paula must reduce of what it pumps from the local aquifer by 20%.

Unlike the City of Ventura at its September 22nd meeting Santa Paula did not adopt any of the penalties allowed for under State guidelines.  Fines can be up to $500 per incident.  The Council may have to revisit the penalty issue at a later date. 

During Public Comments one resident was concerned about people who were already conserving: “What do you when you’re there?  You are down as low as you can go.”  He has seven people living in his house and has done everything to conserve energy as well as water.

Yanez assured residents that:  “We aren’t going to go through their accounts…We aren’t comparing usage.”  However the City has to report monthly to the State Board how much water it uses.

For now, without an enforcement mechanism in place it, appears that the residents of Santa Paula will be on the honor system.

Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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