By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
At their March 3 monthly board meeting, the Crestline-Lake Arrowhead Water Agency (CLAWA) felt forced to remind mountain residents of the water shortage in the statewide water project that supplies back-up water to mountain residents.
This year, CLAWA has been informed that the Department of Water Resources can only supply 15 percent of the water that CLAWA has contracted for from the state water project. CLAWA receives water from the state water project from Silverwood Lake to supply back-up water supplies to many mountaintop water companies from Green Valley Lake to Cedarpines Park.
In a March 2 letter from the Department of Water Resources, the DWR stated the statewide snowpack is only 63 percent of average and they are considering revising downward water deliveries from the promised 15 percent of the contracted amount.
“The time to ramp up water conservation is now,” the letter stated. “Proactive conservation measures are a prudent step … to prepare for the possibility of ongoing extreme dry conditions.”
California has just recorded the driest January and February on record in the last 100 years.
CLAWA has contracted with DWR for 5,800 acre-feet of water each year, said CLAWA board Chair Bruce Risher. But, at this time, only 15 percent, or 870 acre-feet, is being promised from the DWR.
However, this letter warns that even that amount may not be deliverable this or next year unless the weather gets wetter these next couple months. An acre-foot is the area of an acre covered by one foot of water.
CLAWA then held a public hearing for Resolution 871, discussing the statewide water drought and whether a declaration of a Stage 2 Alert under Ordinance 55 of the DWR is needed. After a discussion of the facts, CLAWA is moving from Level One conservation requirements of no unreasonable waste of water to Level Two restrictions, which are detailed on their website. These restrictions include restricting using water to control dust on construction sites, requires residents to use a shut-off nozzle on hoses when washing cars and outdoor shut-off valves, not wasting water year-round on landscaping and only watering twice a week between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. The agency was at this restriction stage a couple years ago and it did not inhibit most businesses in their regular scope of activities.
At this point, CLAWA has a positive outlook because it knows mountain residents are conservation minded and do not intentionally waste water. Residents are aware that water is a finite resource that should not be used unwisely. The buildout of the area has not reached 100 percent, but growth is slow, so at this time they do not need to stop issuing will-serve letters for new projects and it will not affect new residential water connections. Businesses with a higher level of water use may have some restrictions if more water doesn’t come into the state water system.
The meeting also addressed the 2022-23 standby charges in Resolution 870. CLAWA has not increased its water rates since 1993. It was determined that the standby charges are adequate and “no change” was adopted, so the charges remain the same.
The CLAWA board approved the continuation of a couple of infrastructure projects of pressure regulators that are underway at Deer Lodge Park, especially since there was a leak last year because of the extreme high pressure. It will lower the pressure there from 600 PSI to 500 PSI. Several tank relinings were also discussed and approved.
The CLAWA district office is currently getting bids to repaint the exterior of the building, since it has been 15 years since it was last done in 2007. It needs repairing of some cracks in the stucco and the filling of the woodpecker holes in the wood fascia. The first estimate is $18,600 and another bid is being sought at the suggestion of board member Gil Flores.
The meeting closed after a report from CLAWA’s legal counsel on the DWR meeting on reservoir levels, on funding and future plans and legislation being suggested for next year. The DWR is in good shape financially and CLAWA, because of water savings, is in good shape.
The Crestline-Lake Arrowhead Water Agency is a public agency, created in 1961 by a special act of the California State Legislature to provide supplemental water to portions of the San Bernardino Mountains. The CLAWA water board holds a public meeting each month and anyone is welcome to attend.