The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Kim Lamorie, president of the Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation (LVHF), forwarded this letter from David W. Pedersen, P.E., General Manager, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, to Friends of the Santa Monica Mountains and The Canyon Chronicle. While LVMWD is not Topanga’s water district (West Basin MWD is), this is good news regarding an important water update. Dear Kim, I am reaching out to give you and the LVHF an update on the latest water supply conditions and advance notice of a staff recommendation to our Board that, if approved, would involve a measured softening of LVMWD’s current drought restrictions.  Although the drought is not over and conservation remains a top priority for LVMWD, water supply conditions have materially improved for agencies like ours that receive a majority of their deliveries from the State Water Project.   On January 26, 2023, the California Department of Water Resources (CADWR) increased its State Water Project allocation from 5% to 30% of requested amounts due to the large amount of rain and snow in December/January.  Subsequently, on February 1, 2023, CADWR completed its second manual snow survey for the year and reported that statewide snowpack is at 205% of average levels for this time of year. Together, these conditions improve LVMWD’s water supply conditions and warrant a re-look at our current drought restrictions. With this in mind, staff is recommending that the LVMWD Board consider de-escalating its implementation of the District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan by one “notch”—from Stage 3 (Water Shortage Emergency) to Stage 2 (Water Shortage Warning). If approved, this would mean that outdoor water budget reductions (50% reduction for potable water and 25% reduction for recycled water) would be eliminated (no drought reduction factors), and we would no longer be installing flow restriction devices. We would, however, still be encouraging customers to use water efficiently and stay within their water budgets.  We would also be encouraging customers to transform their landscapes to be drought-tolerant and climate-appropriate since 70% of water use within the service area is outdoors. Finally, the one-day-per-week watering restriction (potable water only) would remain in effect until lifted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which is expected to occur on March 14th. Last but not least, I want to thank the LVHF and residents of the Santa Monica Mountains for such tremendous work thus far to conserve water.  Your efforts have been truly historic and collectively resulted in an average 37% Districtwide reduction in water demand from June 1 through December 31, 2022. This is among the highest levels in the entire state.  All of us at LVMWD are forever thankful for your partnership and support.  Thank you! All the best, Dave Pederson Kim Lamorie responds: “Congratulations to you, responsive stakeholders that you always are, for your tremendous historic conservation efforts that are among the highest levels in the state!! This is why we like the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District. Responsive and community focused. They will be at our meeting this month to elaborate and answer questions too! Congratulations, too, to Jeremy Wolf whom you all know from his years of conservation advocacy, from the Federation, or from working for State Senator, Henry Stern, or as an Agoura Hills Planning Commissioner, or now, as an Agoura Hills Councilmember, he is working for the LVMWD as their Legislative Program Manager. They are lucky to have him! For information: lvhf.org.
The Canyon Chronicle

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March 17, 2023