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What happened to El Niño and Yorba Linda homes?

water conservation - paid

March has come and gone, so ending the six-month span during which Southern California receives its greatest rainfall. El Niño was supposed to send a deluge, heralding the much-needed end of our historic drought and allowing owners of Yorba Linda homes to water their gardens again and have green lawns. In fact, you, like many other area homeowners may have bought extra insurance to prepare for any possible flooding because standard insurance no longer covers such situations. 

So what happened to El Niño? 

After a few half-hearted attempts, Mother Nature granted us about 58.7 percent of the typical winter’s rainfall, which is hardly the bounty of water promised by meteorologists. El Niño is nothing if unpredictable. The strength of the phenomenon can vary from year to year with the effect of climate change on it still not clearly understood. However, don’t give up hope yet. Three of the last five strong weather conditions occurred in April, and the storms may continue until May, so it’s possible we may still see water soon. 

The good news is that the rainfall we did receive was enough to modify some of the conservation measures imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board. Watering is now allowed two days a week instead of the previous one day a week. However, the state still forbids any outdoor watering within 48 hours of a rainfall, so check your weather reports before turning on the sprinkler system. 

As of January 2016, Yorba Linda water use decreased by 31.30 percent, well-above state mandates, but it did not meet the self-imposed goal of a 36 percent reduction. This amounts to 258.68 million gallons consumed in January 2016, compared to 376.55 gallons consumed in 2013. 

Despite water conservation efforts by the public, or perhaps because of them, the YLWD Board of Directors voted to raise the basic water charge to plug a $9 million hole in the budget. Subsequently, they were legally challenged by the Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association (YLTA), which asks the Orange County Superior Court to rescind the increased rates, or put a referendum on the ballot. 

The YLTA obtained over twice the number of signatures mandated by law for a referendum petition by early last October, which they presented to the Water Board in November. The Board declared the petition illegal, despite offering no support to substantiate their ruling. They expect the judge to rule in favor of the rate increases by June 13. 

However, dealing with the issue has cost the water district more than $200,000 in additional costs, so far. They point out that almost all water providers in California have adjusted their rates to respond to state water restrictions. They contend that the increases are needed because the cut in water use has cut revenue. They need the extra money to make up the shortfall and continue to deliver safe water and sewer services. 

Fortunately, the controversy hasn’t affected water service in the city. Continue to take shorter showers, wash clothes only with full loads and limit outdoor watering.  

And rest assured that all our new homes take advantage of the latest water-saving technology, such as up-to-date washers, low-flow showers and efficient plumbing. 

If you want to know more about how our housing developments save water, or want to check out our new homes in person, please contact us.