We live in a small city named Hidden Hills, it is a zoned equestrian community, and each home sits on a parcel of land that is a minimum of one acre, which by Los Angeles standards is rare. We also are adjacent to thousands of acres of parkland, known as Ahmanson Ranch, which has been subject to wildfires over the last few years. Ahmanson just a couple years ago was ablaze and the fire came right up to our property. We are told each year not only that we must clear our brush, but we also must maintain our property to protect against wildfires.I do not have a sympathetic response to these thoughts. Although I agree that "changing conditions" are having a dramatic, negative impact on the value of R's land AND lifestyle, I do not think that the government has any obligation to continue stupid policies (cheap water) now revealed as stupid.
About a month ago, our water supplier, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, sent out notices to all of its customers advising them of their allotment of water, which in most cases requires a cutback of 50% in usage. In our specific case we have been allotted 33% of what we used the prior year. A 67% cut back, which will be impossible for us to achieve, the result will be that we will be surcharged $3 per unit over our allotment. If we were to use the same amount of water that we used last year, our water bill would approach $5,000 per billing period. This is not only absurd, but unachievable, impossible, given the size of our property, and the need to maintain the property in a manner to prevent a fire hazard.
While I understand there are concerns about spawning salmon, and other species of fish, the cutback in water supplies is not only going to cost Californian’s billions of dollars, but hundreds of thousands of jobs given the impact to the farming communities we depend on for food. If there was ever a time not to burden people with cutbacks in water supplies, and the resulting effects it will have on citizens of the State and the economy, it is now. We hear of creating jobs, we hear of stimulating the economy, we are suffering economically as a result of the economic meltdown, unemployment is at all time highs, our state sales and income taxes are at or near the highest in the nation, and now we are going to be forced to let our home landscape die, which will further negatively impact the value of our homes?
I don’t know what efforts are being made to tell these stories to the Federal and State Governments, nor do I know how to object to the imposition of the water rationing being imposed upon us, but frankly it is unjust and unacceptable. I appreciate that the eco system is a concern for fish species, but I also question the timing of this action, the urgency of the problem, and why such action would be taken at a time of drought and economic devastation that has gripped our state and country.
Note that 70 percent of LVMWD's residential water goes for outdoor irrigation.
Also note that water "shortages" in LVMWD are NOT because of the fish. They are the result of demand being greater than supply (water is too cheap), and drought-driven reductions in supply from the Colorado River and SWP. (LVMWD buys water wholesale from MWDSC.)
I applaud LVMWD for their move to change heavy water users for use -- something that managers further to the south were unable to do, i.e., explicitly prioritizing water for indoor use. Further, they are using higher prices (rather than rationing!) to "nudge" people towards that goal. At least he can choose his fate!
I suggest that R clear vegetation within 200 yards of his house and let the rest go to (non-irrigated) seed. Maybe a fire will come, but at least the house will be safe (x the fingers) AND firefighters will not die trying to hold back a "fire tsunami" when (not if) it comes.
Bottom Line: Back in the day, R didn't have to pay much for a ranchette in the middle of a firezone. Now R can choose among paying a lot for his status quo, moving out, or changing his lifestyle. Unfortunately, those are R's only choices.