By Brandon Hensley
In an attempt to circumvent problems threatening the Foothill area’s ongoing water crisis, directors of the Foothill Municipal Water District proposed a $20 million bond this week to help aid the agency’s $63-million plan to renovate its infrastructure and reduce local dependency on imported water.
If passed, the bond would have long term implications for Crescenta Valley residents.
Directors from the Crescenta Valley Water District and the La Cañada Irrigation District were on hand for the public meeting, held Monday at La Cañada Presbyterian Church. Foothill Municipal General Manager Nina Jazmadarian presented information to identify possible solutions of water rationing problems that the Foothill area currently faces.
Residents continue to face growing rates and limited shipments of water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California because of the state’s water shortage. Foothill Municipal imports nearly 60% of its water from Metropolitan.
According to Dennis Erdman, general manager of the CV Water District, the renovations would improve storm water capture, recycled water use, and the promotion of additional conservation as a way of making Foothill Municipal more reliable, as well as its delivery system. It would also save money from the costs of importing water from Metropolitan. .
The plan calls for the dependence on imported water to be reduced by one-third to one-half by 2020
Some improvements to the district’s nearly 60-year-old infrastructure, which would cost $7 million, are already underway, and would be paid back through bond proceeds.
If the board of Foothill Municipal approves the measure, a mail-in vote would take place between the area’s property owners. Erdman said there is no time table set for the ballot currently.
“The first thing they want to do is provide more public education on the need for these measures,” Erdman said. “Once they believe the public is properly informed, they could put forward the measure out for consideration.”
If the bond is approved, the $20 million would be paid for over 30 years in the form of a monthly parcel tax, which would equate to roughly $48 per year.
“It seems like it’s a smart thing to do,” said Danette Erickson, a CV Town Council member who attended the meeting. “But I’m trying to understand all the ramifications and what our options are. The only option if it doesn’t pass is for more rationing and higher water rates, so this recycling does seem like a practical thing to do.”
A question was asked at the meeting as to why there is a need for more water at a time when La Crescenta residents are conserving (CV Water District customers are relegated to two landscaping irrigation days per week). The board acknowledged the conversion of single family homes to multi-family homes and mansionization as a reason.
“At times, they’ve not been agreeing with that,” she said. “They’ve not been wanting to say that. But they said it this time and I thought that was interesting.”
Erdman tried to put things in perspective. “What was portrayed … certainly makes sense in terms of the big picture. We need more reliability. How to get there requires careful consideration and will be difficult financially because we’re talking about projects that carry a high price tag.”