June 13, 2015 Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


5 members


Susan brought muffins and grapes and Gail brought donuts.

Kathy chaired the meeting in Laura’s absence.


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about ??

  • City Level 2 Water Supply Shortage Declared
    • Since June 1, Pasadena is under the restrictions of its Level 2 Water Supply Shortage Plan.
    • The State has mandated that Pasadena Water & Power reduce its water usage by 28% in each month compared to the same month in 2013.  Fines of up to $10,000 per day could be assessed against PWP for failure to comply.
    • The Metropolitan Water District has mandated a 15% reduction in water purchases.  Any water purchased above that reduced amount will face penalty charges of two to four times the normal rate.
    • The City Council discussed that progress will be evaluated at the end of July, and if at least a 15% reduction has not been reached, serious consideration will be given to declaring a Level 3 Shortage, which would reduce summer watering to one day per week.
    • (For the year through mid-May, only a 9% average reduction had been achieved.)
    • The primary Level 2 Shortage rules now in effect are:
      • Sprinkler watering allowed only on Tuesday and Saturday from April 1 to October 31.
      • Sprinkler watering allowed only one day per week from November 1 to March 31.
      • All sprinkler watering must occur before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
      • No watering during or within 48 hours of measurable rain.
      • No washing of hard or paved surfaces, except as needed to alleviate safety/sanitary hazards
      • Filling ornamental lakes and ponds is prohibited. Fountains and water features must have a re-circulating water system.
      • All water leaks must be fixed within 48 hours.
      • No excessive water flow or runoff onto pavement, gutters or ditches.
      • No washing vehicles except by using a handheld bucket or similar container or hose equipped with a water shutoff nozzle.
      • All master-metered multifamily properties must certify installation of water-efficient shower heads and aerators on faucets by Sept. 30, 2015
    • Penalties.   According to their website, Pasadena Water and Power “will work closely with customers to provide helpful information and issue written warnings for first offenses. However, homeowners and small-business customers with meter sizes smaller than 1 ½” who continue to violate the ordinance will face fines of $100 – $500 for future violations. Fine amounts are double for customers with meters of 1 ½” or larger. Flow restrictors may also be used to achieve compliance. A customer does have the right to a hearing if a written request is received by PWP within ten (10) days of the date of notification.”
    • Enforcement.  Primarily by complaint.  You are encouraged to report violators by:
      • Calling Pasadena’s Citizen Service Center, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at(626) 744-7311.
      • Submit a report on the service center website.
      • Use the service center app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play store or iTunes.
    • Other initiatives:  
      • Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) is publishing the current water conservation percentage weekly on its website.
      • PWP is working on providing neighbor comparison reports for water usage similar to those issued for electricity usage.
      • Working to implement a “laundry to landscape” grey water assistance program.  It is legal for homeowners to redirect their laundry rinse water outside without the expensive underground emitter piping required for gray water coming from showers and sinks.  PWP is working at making available the fittings to allow homeowners to redirect their laundry water.   (There are a significant number of us who have been doing this for as long as many decades.)
      • PWP is updating its cost of service model to reflect the current costs and water usage characteristics.  This is necessary to remain in compliance with Proposition 218, which says utilities can only charge for water based on “actual and direct” costs of providing the service.  (A recent court ruling threw out tiered rates in San Juan Capistrano because they were developed to penalize overuse, not based on the cost of the water and service.)
        • As our low cost ground water becomes less available, the tiers may need to be adjusted down.
        • Looking at penalty surcharges to automatically be based on penalties for exceeding state mandates or allocations from MWD.
        • Potentially a drought “penalty” for “excessive usage”
        • As usage declines, the income for capital investments may also decline. Looking at implementing additional fixed charges or a routine adjustment of the capital investment charge based on sales volume (less volume, higher rate)
        • Generating additional income for conservation programs (rebates, education, etc).
      • At the City Council meeting on June 15, they will be voting for an increase in water rates this year and next year which is not related to the drought.
      • Recycled Water Project.  PWP is working on a plan to pipe water from the Los Angeles-Glendale Reclamation Plant to western Pasadena for use in landscape irrigation at such major facilities as Brookside Golf Course, Art Center, Rose Bowl, and Brookside Park.
      • Arroyo Seco Canyon Project.  PWP is working on a plan involving, among other things, replacing a former JPL parking lot in part with more settling basins for groundwater recharge.
    • New development:  There has been a lot of comment about why the city is allowing all the new development if water is really in such short supply.  The staff explains that the water restrictions imposed by the state and MWD are on a per capita basis, so actually adding new efficient apartment/condo residents actually disproportionately increases the allocation city-wide and provides for more people paying for the water that is used.   PWP’s total water use now is about the same as it was in 1960.
    • There is a lot of interesting background information in documents prepared for the City Council’s meeting.  One of these is June 1, 2015, item 26, attachment B
    • At our meeting, a question was raised about how the city has decreased its water usage.
      • According to the presentation to the City Council, on a percentage basis, the city has done by far the best among user categories in decreasing its water usage since 2013. Comparing usage from July to April of fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 to April 2013) to July to April of fiscal year 2015 (July 2014 – April 2015):
        • Starting at 3% of the total PWP water supply, usage by city accounts dropped by 22.3%.
        • Single family residential usage, at 47% percent of the total, declined 6.1%.
        • Multi-family residential, at 16% of the total, declined 4.6%.
        • Commercial and industrial, at 26% of the total, gained 2.1%.
  • Sierra Madre Blvd median grass elimination
    • The City is taking additional steps to save on its water use.  These include closing a water play facility at La Pintoresca Park for the summer, turning off all water fountains at city facilities, and trying to capture water flushed from pipes during maintenance.
    • Because of an edict from the State banning cities from growing grass in street medians, the city will be eliminating the grass from the Sierra Madre Blvd median.
      • grass areas will be “sculpted down”
      • sprinkler systems will be reworked to use low-emitting irrigation systems to only water the trees
      • mulch will be spread over everything
    • Some other grassy areas at city facilities will also be eliminated over time.
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month, from crimemapping.com:
      • Mon May 18, 5:45 pm, 3200 block E Foothill Blvd, Grand Theft Auto
      • Thurs May 21, 12:17 pm, 3000 block La Tierra St, Residential Burglary.  2nd time in just 2 1/2 weeks
      • Fri May 22, 3:05 pm, 3200 block Mataro St, Petty Theft
      • Sun May 24, 12:30 pm, 3100 block Mataro St, Misdemeanor Malicious Mischief Vandalism
      • Tues May 26, 11:20 am, 600 block Sierra Madre Villa Ave (east side of street), Commercial Burglary
      • Fri June 5, 2:49 pm, 400 block Sierra Madre Villa Ave, Petty Theft
    • More activity on the edges of the neighborhood then seen in a long time and Foothill and Colorado Blvds and Kinneloa all very busy.

Next meeting is July 11, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about ??