At last week’s CCSD meeting, I made a formal request that the Board review and reconsider the need for and appropriateness of the Water Code Section 350 emergency declaration at a public hearing. Below is the letter I will be sending as a followup to the Board. What do you think?
I am writing this letter to follow up on the request I made during the public comment period at the August 20, 2009 regular meeting of the Cambria Community Services District.
During those comments, I made a formal request that the CCSD Board review and reconsider the need for and appropriateness of the Water Code Section 350 emergency declaration at a public hearing.
It’s been 2,856 days since CCSD’s board declared a water emergency under California Water Code Section 350.
That state law allows water agencies “may declare a water shortage emergency condition to prevail within the area served by such distributor whenever it finds and determines that the ordinary demands and requirements of water consumers cannot be satisfied without depleting the water supply of the distributor to the extent that there would be insufficient water for human consumption, sanitation, and fire protection.”
It goes on to provide additional powers and responsibilities:
- “it shall thereupon adopt such regulations and restrictions on the delivery of water and the consumption within said area of water supplied for public use as will in the sound discretion of such governing body conserve the water supply for the greatest public benefit with particular regard to domestic use, sanitation, and fire protection.”
- “The regulations and restrictions shall thereafter be and remain in full force and effect during the period of the emergency and until the supply of water available for distribution within such area has been replenished or augmented.”
- “The regulations and restrictions may include the right to deny applications for new or additional service connections, and provision for their enforcement by discontinuing service to consumers willfully violating the regulations and restrictions.”
It was October 25, 2001 was the last time CCSD issued an intent to serve letter for a new home.
Since declaring the water shortage emergency, the district has taken numerous actions that affect the water supply availability:
- developed and approved a water master plan.
- had a change of 3 board members.
- increased storage capacity for fire from 1 million to 1.7 million gallons, an amount that minimizes the chance of service interruption in case the need for fire suppression is coincident with an accident-like the recent Cornwall/Sheffield break.
- increased the water pressure 250 percent to provide adequate flow for firefighting.
- implemented a retrofit rebate program for low-flow toilets and washers that is about to lose funding (almost 300 washer rebates issued to date).
- Reduced the number of potential through promotion of lot mergers and conservation easements.
- attempted (unsuccessfully) to adjudicate the San Simeon basin with those with senior water rights.
- analyzed alternative sources for additional water and approved taking action to build a desalination plant .
- installed new electronic meters for almost all customers to reduce water losses from over 12% to about 8%.
In addition to the actions cited above and other Board policy decisions and actions, standards for water efficiency in new construction (both indoor & outdoor use) combined with the county policy and ordinances limiting the rate of growth to less than 2.3% of current housing units county-wide (limited to 1% in Cambria until 2006, 0% through June 2012) protect our water supply from depletion due to new connections that may be permitted over the next 10 years.
We have a wonderful town here and could find ourselves in the expensive and awkward position of defending policies that are outdated, inconsistent or without firm footing.
I am requesting that discussion of reconsideration of the State Water Code 350 emergency declaration be placed on the CCSD Board Agenda without delay. After eight years and many improvements in our water system and demand management, such a discussion seems a valuable use of the Board’s time and energy.
If the Executive Committee declines to schedule this discussion on the agenda for full Board discussion, I ask to be provided the specific reasons for declining the request, in writing.
Amanda C. Rice
Tammy Rudock, CCSD General Manager
Bruce Gibson, Chair, SLO County Board of Supervisors
Paul Hood, Executive Officer, SLO Local Agency Formation Commission
Charles Lester, Central Coast Senior Deputy Director, California Coastal Commission
Lois Capps, Congresswoman California’s 23rd District
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