The Lake Hemet Municipal Water District (LHMWD) Board of Directors restated its declaration of a water shortage emergency, Ordinance No. 176, last Thursday, an ordinance that was adopted Aug. 20, 2015.
The restated Ordinance 176 was passed, 4-1, with Director David Jorgensen voting against.
The ordinance “restricts new or additional service connections.” It acknowledges that California continues to experience drought conditions and, “as a result of these ongoing drought conditions, the District desires to amend and restate Ordinance No. 176 in its entirety to adequately reflect the current state of affairs with respect to water shortages both within the State and the District …”
In his General Manager’s Report, Michael Gow wrote that Lake Hemet is at 121 feet. He said 118 feet is half full by volume and 135 feet is full. “The irrigation demand is now being supplied by stream flow, purchases of raw imported water from [Eastern Municipal Water District], LHMWD’s Well 17, and groundwater banked with the Watermaster [one in charge of the distribution of irrigation water from a main canal] through the associated wells. Lake releases will not begin until late summer or early fall when supplies are expected to be at their lowest levels. In addition, waiting to release lake water will allow higher lake levels during the peak recreation season.”
Not only would LHMWD restrict new or additional connections, but the ordinance allows the district “to discontinue service to consumers who willfully violate the regulations and restrictions of the District …
“The District Board of Directors also finds that, despite efforts to replenish the water, the canyon water basin is dropping, the upper San Jacinto wells remain low, and that the water level at Lake Hemet is currently at one-half capacity.
“The District Board of Directors further finds that there is no recharge water available and that the State of California and the District will remain in drought conditions and a state of emergency for the foreseeable future.
“The District Board of Directors believes that compliance with Governor Newsom’s Executive Orders and consequent State Water Resources Control Board Resolutions, and to maintain adequate water levels within its service area cannot be achieved if the District permits new or additional water connections for continued development within the District’s service area during the current drought conditions …”
LHMWD allows certain exceptions, mostly applying to Hemet areas, not Garner Valley. The restrictions and exceptions can be found at www.lhmwd.org/Conservation.aspx.