West Kern Water District Board to vote on stricter controls

West Kern Water District directors tomorrow are expected to green light mandatory restrictions on water use as California’s drought emergency continues to worsen.

The Board meets at 6 p.m. in the WKWD offices, 800 Kern Street, at 6 p.m.

General Manager Harry Starkey said he expects the board to instruct staff to initiate a Level 2 response to the district’s Water Shortage Response Plan it adopted four years ago.

“Until now we haven’t seen the need to initiate mandatory restrictions,” he said.

The district previously had implemented Level 1 response, which encouraged customers to reduce consumption, but that was advisory and not mandatory.

The district offered free shutoff nozzles for garden hoses and teamed up with True Value Hardware to offer vouchers for low-flow toilets.

Starkey said wastefulness is not a problem locally.

“I don’t see a lot of water waste in West Kern,” he said. “Here in West Kern our per capita water use is among the lowest in the county.”

But in other areas of the state the call for restraint has gone unheeded, and that’s what prompted the State Water Resources Control Board last week to call for mandatory restrictions.

And that, in turn, nudged West Kern to consider shifting its Water Shortage Response Plan into second gear, taking it from “water awareness” to “alert/water restrictions.”

Mandatory conservation measures include:

•Equipping hoses with shut-off nozzles

•NO hosing down driveways, streets, parking lots, sidewalks or buildings unless necessary for health and safety

•NO watering of residential or commercial landscaping between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Limit watering run time to avoid runoff

•Wash motor vehicles, trailers, boats and other equipment using a bucket and/or hand-held hose with shut-off nozzle, high pressure/low volume wash system, or at a commercial site that recirculates water on-site, and avoid washing during hot conditions

•Restaurants serve water only on request

Additionally, hotels and motels should offer guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.

Pools, spas and ornamental fountains and ponds must be recirculating and leak proof and drained and refilled only for health, maintenance or structural reasons.

Response Level 2 requires using only non-potable or recycled water for compaction or dust control if available and requires Starkey’s approval for using water for sewer system maintenance or fire protection training.

Leaks should be repaired within 24 hours of notification by the district.

First offense brings a warning, second a $300 fine, third a $600 fine and fourth loss of service.